University of Plymouth Department of Psychology

Skills Package: How to Put Questionnaires on the Internet: Part 2



Presented by: Dr Paul Kenyon
Here ia a Table of Contents: Part 2

Serving HTML Forms

Now that you have seen how to construct an HTML questionnaire you are probably wondering where it goes!. The answer is that in order for people to access your questionnaire it must be put onto a computer that has the necessary software to serve it to clients who want to use it. This type of computer is called a Web or WWW server. Here at Plymouth we have a computer 'salmon' that runs WebSite which we use for serving questionnaires onto the Internet. Simply give me your questionnaire, I will put it onto our server and you will get the data sent back to you as a series of email messages everytime someone completes your questionnaire. At the end of your data collection period I can give you a copy of the datafile for you to analyse using Excel

Of course, if you simply want your questionnaire to be filled in by people you recruit, you could just put your HTML Form on a floppy disk and load it into Netscape anytime you had a willing victim. The responses will still be sent back to via email. One advantage of this approach is during the development of your questionnaire when you are deciding what questions to include or exclude from the form. You can make revisions when you want without having to put it on the server.


How do I recruit subjects on the Internet?

Warning Take care when announcing your questionnaire on the Internet. Please bear in mind that you are about to present your work to a potential worldwide audience of 30 million or so people. Consider the following questions
If in doubt about the last question, ask yourself "Would I be happy for my relatives, the Head of Department and the Vice-Chancellor to see the questionnaire?" If you score less than two 'Yes' on this criterion - think again.

There are a number of ways that you can ask people to fill in your questionnaire, but before you jump in imagine that you are about to enter a downtown bar in a foreign city as a lone stranger......that's the right frame of mind to be in.

Here is a local copy of the FAQ document How To Announce Your New Web Site (Other Places)
Here is a link to Boutell's document which describes how to announce your website on the newsgroup: comp.infosystems.www.announce
This link takes you to a local copy of Boutell's document. It's faster to load but may be out of date


How do I put my completed form onto a Web Server?

Please note this service can only be offered to students on my courses at the University of Plymouth. O'Reilly offer a Free 30-day demo of PolyForm

When you have completed your HTML form send it to me in an email.
Email to: pkenyon@salmon.psy.plym.ac.uk
Please remember to send me the following details:

I will email you when I have installed your Form onto the server and set up a PolyForm script
Then you should check that everything works as expected. Pay particular attention to the email output produced by your form. If it needs correction, simply resubmit your form etc. to me via email


What is the URL for my form?


I will place your HTML Form on the server so that it can be accessed via the following URL:
http://salmon.psy.plym.ac.uk/Yr2Skills/your_filename_goes_here.htm
Use this URL to direct users on the Internet to your form.

In addition I will put a link from my research page to your Form. The advantage of this is that this page is frequently accessed by people curious about our research. Consequently you may get people filling in your questionnaire who are just surfing around the 'net. Here is a link to undergraduate Forms that have been successfully mounted on the server: Undergraduate Research Projects


What other experiments are there on the Internet?


New Quick start: Template Questionnaire

Now that you have read how to do it you may want to download and save a template questionnaire with blanks for you to fill in. The template contains several examples of radio buttons and free text entry boxes. Feel free to modify and extend the HTML to meet your specific needs. When you click on the submit button a thank you page is returned to the user. You can download this as well and customise it for your needs.