4 open source tools for doing online surveys

4 open source tools for conducting online surveys

4 open source tools for doing online surveys
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opensource.com

Ah, the venerable survey. It can be a fast, simple, cheap, and effective way gather the opinions of friends, family, classmates, co-workers, customers, readers, and others.

Millions turn to proprietary tools like SurveyGizmo, Polldaddy, SurveyMonkey, or even Google Forms to set up their surveys. But if you want more control, not just over the application but also the data you collect, then you'll want to go open source.

Let's take a look at four open source survey tools that can suit your needs, no matter how simple or complex those needs are.

LimeSurvey

LimeSurvey is where you turn to when you want a survey tool that can do just about everything you want it to do. You can use LimeSurvey for doing simple surveys and polls, and more complex ones that span multiple pages. If you work in more than one language, LimeSurvey supports 80 of them.

LimeSurvey also lets you customize your surveys with your own JavaScript, photos, and videos, and even by editing your survey's HTML directly. And all that is only scratching the surface of its features.

You can install LimeSurvey on your own server, or get a hosted plan that will set you back a few hundred euros a year (although there is a free option too).

JD Esurvey

If LimeSurvey doesn't pack enough features for you and Java-powered web applications are your thing, then give JD Esurvey a look. It's described as "an open source enterprise survey web application." It's definitely powerful, and ticks a number of boxes for organizations looking for a high-volume, robust survey tool.

Using JD Esurvey, you can collect a range of information including answers to "Yes/No" questions and star ratings for products and services. You can even process answers to questions with multiple parts. JD Esurvey supports creating and managing surveys with tablets and smartphones, and your published surveys are mobile friendly too. According to the developer, the application is usable by people with disabilities.

To give it a go, you can either fork JD Esurvey on GitHub or download and install a pre-compiled version of the application.

Quick Survey

For many of us, tools like LimeSurvey and JD Esurvey are overkill. We just want a quick and dirty way to gather opinions or feedback. That's where Quick Survey comes in.

Quick Survey only lets you create question-and-answer or multiple choice list surveys. You add your questions or create your list, then publish it and share the URL. You can add as many items to your survey as you need to, and the responses appear on Quick Survey's admin page. You can download the results of your surveys as a CSV file, too.

While you can download the code for Quick Survey from GitHub, it's currently optimized for Sandstorm.io and Sandstorm Oasis where you can grab it from the Sandstorm App Market.

TellForm

In terms of features, TellForm lies somewhere between LimeSurvey and Quick Survey. It's one of those tools for people who need more than a minimal set of functions, but who don't need everything and the kitchen sink.

In addition to having 11 different types of surveys, TellForm has pretty good analytics attached to its surveys. You can easily customize the look and feel of your surveys, and the application's interface is simple and clean.

If you want to host TellForm yourself, you can grab the code from the GitHub repository. Or, you can sign up for a free hosted account.


Do you have a favorite open source tool for doing online surveys? Feel free to share it with our community by leaving a comment.

2 Comments

Greg P

The problem I have with surveys is that they're mostly awful. You are given leading questions. You are expected to give a Yes/No response or make some discrete selection about something that has shades of gray or qualifications to any answer you might give.
There is a certain anti-openness to surveys as well. By generating a survey you make an effort to show how much you are out there getting people's opinions, when there is typically no forthcoming evidence to show you are using that information, bad as it might be, in some constructive way. (opensource.com should think about this whenever they have an urge to put something in the side bar about "what is your favorite ......?" Someone "wins", but so what?)
Before retirement, there were numerous surveys that were pushed out, and I never saw one that I would have any use of its results.

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phasealpha

Creating a "good" survey is a bit of a fine art. There are definitely a lot of them out there with bias or information overload. But we've found them to be helpful in understanding our customers. Definitely agree they can sometimes be useless, as in focus groups saying they'll buy in a testing room but failing to do so at the store.

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