This article describes best practices for deploying a survey using SurveyMethods and entering paper/hard copy survey results into your online survey.
Once you create your survey online using SurveyMethods and it is ready to be deployed, create a paper version of your survey in a tool such as Microsoft Word, or export your online version to Word or PDF. While the online version is optimized for the web, Microsoft Word provides full control to customize your survey design to be printed out on paper.
Launch your online survey through the SurveyMethods launch process to send it to online respondents. At the end of the launch process, SurveyMethods.com also provides you with a web URL for your survey. You can use this URL to enter your paper responses. You can also find this URL stored in the “Settings” menu of your launched survey in case you need to obtain it at a later point.
Entering Data from Gathered Paper Responses
If you have set your survey to be taken only once per respondent then you will need to change this setting to enable the survey to be taken multiple times so you can enter in all the paper responses. We recommend you wait until most users online have taken your survey, then go to the Settings section of your survey click on “Allow Single or Multiple Responses” to change it to be taken multiple times.
Once this is complete, copy the web URL of the survey from the settings section and save it as a favorite in your browser. Make sure you log out of your account, then click on the favorite that you just added and your survey will appear in your browser. Enter in your paper survey responses one at a time and hit Submit on the final page. If you have multiple data entry persons entering the paper responses, you can simply save the web URL as a favorite on each of their computers.
VERY IMPORTANT: Do NOT open multiple browser windows or tabs on the same computer with the same survey web URL. Doing so can result in blank responses being submitted as the cookies in your browser can prevent responses from being saved correctly.
Alternate Method of Entering Paper Responses While Only Allowing a Single Response per Respondent
When logged into your account you can also click on the survey title on the My Surveys page to preview the survey and record the results to enter in your paper responses. This does not require you to have the survey to be set to be taken multiple times per respondent since you are only previewing the survey but are recording the results. This method would only enable one person to enter responses at a time, however, since only one person can be logged in at a time.
In order to match the online response entered with each paper response, many of our customers find it helpful to put an ID on each paper response and then enter that ID into the online survey when doing data entry. This way, if you need to go back to the paper response when viewing your online data you can do so by matching the ID of the online response to the paper response.
To enter an ID in your survey you can create an optional question in your survey (e.g. “Enter survey response ID if you have one”).
If you make this an optional question then your online respondents can ignore this question.