Online questionnaires are used extensively to collect information about customer preferences, employee satisfaction, and other business-related topics. But a growing number of creative individuals are applying online questionnaires to tasks that have nothing to do with traditional business purposes.
They are using these powerful tools as convenient, cost-effective aids to education, communication, personal organization, and just about anything else they can think of.
Surveys in the Classroom
Online surveys have found a variety of applications in college classrooms, in subjects ranging from statistics to sociology.
For courses in statistics, students can apply the statistical principles they are learning in class to surveys they construct themselves. This type of exercise gives them an eye-opening appreciation of how abstract concepts can be used to make sense of real world data. Mineful’s questionnaire software allows students to employ some basic tools of data analysis, including such things as cross-tabs and frequency distribution. The professor can create and upload data and all students can access this information and do homeworks and analysis based on this data.
Online questionnaires are also becoming widely used for courses in sociology and political science. They provide an easy, relatively inexpensive way for students to conduct research on political opinions and a variety of personal preferences. By seeing first-hand the complexities involved in sampling public opinion, students can gain a healthy skepticism about survey results they see reported in the news.
Academics pursuing research in public health are using online surveys to learn more about such topics as exercise habits, drug use, and eating patterns. Just about any type of research involving human activity can benefit from online surveys.
Surveys as Communication Tools
Businesses have traditionally used surveys to collect information from customers. Now, with the growing popularity of social media, surveys are also becoming a communication tool.
For example, a hotel chain might send a quick survey to all of its Facebook “fans” asking about their favorite vacation destinations. Typically such a survey will take less than a minute to complete, and respondents will have a chance to win some type of prize. Respondents will be encouraged to check back in a few days to see the results of the survey. Using tools such as those offered by Mineful’s questionnaire software, the company can easily compile the results of the survey and present them in eye-catching charts.
Such a survey serves several purposes. It reminds customers about the company’s hotels. It shows customers that the company is interested in their preferences. It encourages customers to come back to the company’s Facebook page. And it serves the more traditional purpose of collecting information from customers.
Your Personal Database
People are even using online surveys to keep track of personal data. For example, they might use an online survey as a spreadsheet to keep track of their weight or time spent exercising.
Serious dieters might use questionnaire software to record the number of calories they consume, even when they’re traveling.
Online questionnaires offer a number of advantages as personal organization tools. They are easier to use than most spreadsheet programs, they produce colorful charts with just a few clicks, and they can be accessed from anywhere.
Like so many other digital tools, online questionnaires are finding a wide range of applications that their creators never intended.
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