Department of Psychology
Skills Package: How to Put Questionnaires on the Internet: Part 2
Presented by: Dr Paul Kenyon
Table of Contents: Part 2
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.
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
- Do you have ethical clearance for your study?
- Have you taken steps to ensure that subjects have given their informed consent before filling in the questionnaire?
- Have you thought of ways to give feedback to participants?
- Will your questionnaire offend individuals or groups of people?
- Have you checked it for nonsexist language, spelling etc ?
- Does your questionnaire present yourself, the department and the university in a favourable light?
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
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.
Please remember to send me the following details:
- the name of your HTML file - use the first six (or less) characters of your first name e.g. paul.htm
- your name and email address
- the name of your script - use the first six (or less) characters of your first name e.g. paul
- a brief description of your questionnaire
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
I will place your HTML Form on the server so that it can be accessed via the following URL:
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
- This first year course has links to a number of current online experiments: PSY130 Psychological Research Techniques
- Here is a rationale for conducting experiments across the Internet written by Dr. Ulf-Dietrich Reips,Psychologisches Institut, Universität Zürich.
- The comprehensive American Psychological Society List of Online Experiments ( list of experiments on the WWW, maintained by John H. Krantz)
- A paper Research Methods Using Computer Networksby Tony Mitchell, Marcin Paprzycki & George Duckett.
- Research Online: Experiments and Methodology
There are a number of issues to debate on the use of computer networks as a tool for conducting psychological research. Questions concern specific methodologies for Internet experimentation; the advantages in using the Internet as a way for partecipants to gain access to experiments and surveys; and furthermore which studies can benefit from Internet-based research and which are those that may be compromised.
In this page you'll find a series of links to websites related to the discussion of the previous and other methodological issues; in addition to that, there are other links to current psychological researches online; to Internet-based studies on Cyberpsychology --the Psychology of Cyberspace-- that looks into the new dimension of human experience created by computers and computer networks; other links are dedicated to websites for statistic and demographic sources in order to learn about Internet users, their characteristics and their motivations in using the Web.
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.