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Library Subject Guides

Data: a Practical Guide

Survey tools

Final prototype for the Data practical guide.

Survey tools

Having already considered some principles of survey design, on this page we'll take a closer look at the main survey tools available at York: Google Forms and Qualtrics. We also consider tools for audience polling.

Survey tools at York

At York there are two main survey tools: Google Forms and Qualtrics.

In the slides below we take a look at how they work, and consider the respective pros and cons of each.

Google Forms

Google FormsGoogle Forms is part of the Google Apps for Education suite.

It is great for simple forms and surveys and has the benefit that the survey can be locked down to University of York members as a whole, as well as to specific individuals. 

Responses can be fed in real time to a Google Sheet and you can even use Google Apps Script code to make things happen with these responses, like creating documents or sending emails.

Google Forms security

To ensure the security of your Google Form, take into consideration how you set up and distribute it. Check in Settings to make sure View results summary is turned off, as if it is enabled respondents can see full text responses and chart summaries of data. If you have the results going directly into a spreadsheet, check the sharing settings for that spreadsheet too. And see below for guidance on how to send out the form securely.


Qualtrics​Qualtrics has far more question types than Google Forms, with advanced options when it comes to structuring and branching your survey. It can also use distribution lists and pull across embedded data from such lists while maintaining anonymous responses.

Audience polling

Getting a show of hands is one thing but sometimes you might want to get a bit more sophisticated in terms of audience polling. As well as traditional survey tools, the University has an institutional licence for Mentimeter which can be used to provide real-time feedback in a presentation setting:

There's also the Q&A tool available in Google Slides:

And if you're presenting online, Zoom has a polling tool built in:

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