Module 2 – Developing digital content – practice

Explorer level

Collecting data using online forms and tools

In order to come up with a good survey you need to define it correctly.
Important is to answer therefore these questions

    • Who is the intended audience of the survey?
    • What type of information will be collected in the survey?
    • How will I control the validity, accuracy, quality …?
    • How will the data be processed?

Here are some rules – according to Survey Monkey – for creating an effective survey

  1. Define a clear, attainable goal for your survey.

The goal must be precise, specific

  1. Keep the more personal questions to the end.

It is better to keep personal information – like age, education … – at the end

  1. Don’t let your survey get too long.

Long surveys tend to discourage people from the start. So keep it short. A nice trick is in some survey programs that provide a progress line (or %) so the respondent sees the end of it.

  1. Focus on using closed-ended questions.

A way to progress quicker in a survey and at the same time to make processing afterwards easier is to use more closed-ended questions, like Likert scale, multiple choice.

Keep open questions limited and perhaps more as a deeper explanation of a choice made in a closed question.

  1. Consider including a survey incentive.

If you have the possibility a small reward for those taking part at the survey is always nice.

  1. Don’t ask leading questions.

In other words, try not to put your own opinion into the question prompt, be as neutral as possible in your description of the question.

  1. Keep your answer choices balanced.

Certainly in closed questions you need to provide enough answers to be objective. In Likert scale it is always useful to have an even number of answers, this prevents people to as an easy solution to check the middle (average), also provide an option to choose ‘not applicable’ or ‘no opinion’.

  1. Absolutes can absolutely hurt the quality of your responses.

Don’t use absolute words like ‘every’, ‘always’ or ‘all’ in the question as this limits the answering objectivity of the respondent.

  1. Stay away from asking double-barreled questions.

Don’t ask two (different) things in the same question, better to break it up into 2 or more questions.

  1. Preview your survey before you send it.

Make sure you evaluate the survey in a test mode to prevent any mishaps

Activity
compose & write down the survey on paper
The content links to use of data in your school: you want to investigate in which courses/subjects what kind of open data is used, list up some examples, to what extent do pupils feel that enough use is made of it? And of course also some questions on the respondent & date and time of survey recording.

_________________________________________________

Сreate your survey using a survey form.

Depending on the questions you made you need a normal survey tool or a geolocation data tool. The last one is also taking your position into the form, so that the data can be visualised on an exact location (see 1.3.1).

A survey always consists of different parts 

The general part includes

  • date and time of the survey – sometimes this is done automatically
  • information on the respondent (like name, age, email address) – but in this case take care of the GDPR: The General Data Protection Regulation. This is an EU regulation on data protection and privacy Therefore indicate at the start of the survey the purpose for data processing, and state how long data is being retained and if it is being shared with any third parties. More information on GDPR can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/data-protection-eu 

The core of the survey itself with different  types of questions: Closed questions and open questions.

Closed questions consist a.o. of:

  • multiple choice questions when a limited number of answers. These are easier to analyse afterwards as these standardize the answer format, i.e. no room for interpretation or misspelling. 
  • checkboxes are similar to multiple choice but here more than one option can be selected
  • linear scale or Likert scale is when you want to collect someone’s opinion numerically on a scale. Also here analysis becomes very easy in e.g. a graph (column bars, pie chart …)

Open questions consist of text boxes (sometimes allowing only short answers opposed to so-called paragraph answers where a longer text answer is possible). These questions offer more opportunities to respondents to express in-depth their opinion/answer but analysis is more complex and more difficult to present graphically (although e.g. word clouds are possible).

Finally don’t forget at the end to thank the respondent for answering the survey. Also offer the opportunity to keep them informed of the results if they want.

For a survey without geolocation these are some popular tools:

Activity: 

Create the survey using the information/questions you made in the first part
When finished share the link of the survey with your public so that data collection can begin. Don’t forget to give precise instructions on the final collection date.

TOOLS DATA & RESOURCES NEEDED
TIME REQUIRED
  • 30 minutes: create the survey on paper
  • 30 minutes: create the survey in the too

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Processing & visualizing the data

After collecting the data it is time to visualize and analyse the results. Depending on the type of questions the data can be visualized in graphs (e.g. numerical data) or just table view (e.g. text).

But before analysing the results make sure you close the survey, e.g. no longer accepting responses. Google Forms & Microsoft forms show the results of the data capture in the same window (in an extra tab called ‘Answers’ next to the survey questions)

By clicking on that tab you can see or a summary of the collected data or go through each form separately. The summary offers already some graphic representations. Both allow to export the results as a data table : Google puts the results in a separate Google spreadsheet when clicking on the icon , and that table stays connected with the Form so if new data is collected it automatically is added to the spreadsheet. You can also download the Google spreadsheet as an xls-file.

The spreadsheet in Google sheets allows analysis possibilities similar to working in Excel, including graphic representations of the results of the closed questions. Microsoft forms offers the opportunity to download the data as an Excel file, if you want the file to stay up-to-date with new entries in the Form you need to start from your Onedrive, and click on New >Forms for Excel.

Survey Monkey collects all results in the Analyze Results section of a survey. Here you can see a summary view of your data; browse individual responses; create custom charts; use filters to focus on specific data views and segments; and easily download your results in multiple formats. But also here you can export the data – once the collecting is finished – as an xls-file.

 

The downloaded xls-file can be opened inside Excel, offering even more and better options to make graphs and tables with a nice layout so that you can create a nice illustrated document of the survey.

With TypeForm you can explore and download all the answers you collect in the Responses section of the Results panel. The Responses section allows you to view individual responses to your typeform, rather than just seeing overall trends, like the Summary and Insights sections do. This makes it great for diving deeper into qualitative data, to really get to know about each respondent.

Go to the Responses section by clicking on the Results panel and then on the Responses tab. The number of responses that your typeform has received will be shown in brackets in this tab. You can also download all your data to a spreadsheet in Excel (XLS) or CSV file formats. This is useful for doing further analysis, or for merging data from multiple typeforms.

Activity: 

Visualize the results of your survey:
-by first going through the results inside the forms platform itself
– by exporting or downloading the results as a data-file (Google sheets or xls-file) and thereby visualising the answers of the closed questions in different graphs.

TOOLS DATA & RESOURCES NEEDED

– Google Forms (https://docs.google.com/forms/u/0/)
– Microsoft Forms (https://forms.office.com/)
– Survey Monkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/)
– Google Sheets (https://www.google.com/sheets/about/)
– Microsoft Excel
– TypeForm (https://www.typeform.com/surveys/)

TIME REQUIRED

60 min.

Expert level

Creating a survey with geolocation

Geodata, also known as geographic data or geospatial data, refers to data and information that has explicit or implicit association with a location relative to Earth. Geospatial data is used to visually depict and better understand the impact of human activity based on a specific geographic location.

The information on geolocation might bring new insights and provides with very useful information. While collecting the data based on geography, the researcher is able to understand if the results are specific to a certain region. 

Trash (cans, plastic bottles, mouth masks …)  along streets and rural biking and walking  paths is in many countries a problem. Sometimes it is the attitude of the person, but sometimes it is also caused by lack of bins or other recycling places along streets and paths.

In this survey you will divide the work and each of your group members will survey some streets/paths.

In the survey you will indicate

  • what kind of trash is recorded
  • where there are bins or other recycling possibilities and if these are empty or bulging with trash 
  • what your general opinion/feeling is about the street/path you are surveying (really dramatic or reasonable – using a Likert scale)

But for this survey we need to indicate the exact location of the rubbish along the road/path. This is where geodata is used, meaning data with a geolocation attached to it. When collecting the data the respondent will or automatically add his/her location with the form, or will indicate on a map the exact location. As a result all data can be visualised on a map, offering the possibilities to make spatial analysis of the data.

The data can be visualised via a map where by clicking on the location you see the data of the survey were collected there.

Just as in 1.2.1 mentioned in order to come up with a good survey you need to define it correctly.

Important is to answer therefore these questions

    • Who is the intended audience of the survey?
    • What type of information will be collected in the survey?
    • How will I control the validity, accuracy, quality …?
    • How will the data be processed? 

The same practical rules apply here. But as mentioned: you will also answer a question that points to the location where the survey is record is completed. Take the example of Survey123: one of the question types you have to add is ‘Map’, this allows to determine on the map your exact location – when using a smartphone it is done automatically when clicking on the symbol

For this kind of survey use one of these 2 tools:

  • ArcGIS Survey123: Collect data via web or mobile devices, even when disconnected from the Internet. Analyze results quickly, and upload data securely for further analysis. You can use Survey123 as a stand-alone product, or combine it with other tools of ESRI (like ArcGIS Online & ArcGIS Storymaps) for even more analysing options.
  • QField: this app allows you to efficiently collect data on the field, but you need to analyse the results inside QGIS.
Activity

Make the survey to measure waste along the street. You will need to create a survey with geolocation. This means that one of the questions in the survey asks (whether or not automatic) to indicate your location. The other questions can be similar to a ‘normal’ survey.

When it is finished share the link of the survey with your public so that data collection can begin. Don’t forget to give precise instructions on the final collection date.

TOOLS DATA & RESOURCES NEEDED

– Survey123 from ESRI (https://survey123.arcgis.com/) – you need an organisation account to create a survey, not to answer the survey. An introducing video can be found on https://youtu.be/fqw71JjhWMc
–  QField of QGIS (https://qfield.org/) – to be installed on your Android smartphone
An introducing video can be found on https://youtu.be/fqYZlhZwXLo 

TIME REQUIRED
  • create the survey: 1 h
  • collecting data on the field depends of the amount of streets and distance, but this will esily take 1 h.

__________________________________

Processing the data

After collecting the data it is time to visualize and analyse the results. But before analysing the results make sure you close the survey, e.g. no longer accepting responses.

Survey123  lets you analyse the results in two different ways inside the platform: 

  • you can analyze the results in tables & graphs, with the possibility to filter the results
  • you can also choose to see the geolocation of all recorded forms, here you can also choose to ‘Open in Map Viewer’ so that the data are visualised inside ArcGIS Online
  • this video provides a helpful guide to analysing Survey123 results: https://youtu.be/MvjlS-0p2K4

When using QField the data should be imported and opened inside QGIS using a plug-in. More info on this can be found on https://qfield.org/docs/ 

Activity

Try the tools and use them for creating visualized and geolocated surveys.

TOOLS DATA & RESOURCES NEEDED

– Survey123 from ESRI (https://survey123.arcgis.com/)
–  QField of QGIS (https://qfield.org/)

TIME REQUIRED
  • with Survey123 inside the browser: 60 min
    when also using ArcGIS Online: 90 min
  • with QField: 90 min as you will also need to work with QGIS.

Visualizing the data

After downloading the data you might want to visualize it for publishing. Data visualization process is called infographics. While using different types of charts it is possible to convey an idea in a straightforward way. Instead of writing one or two paragraphs, you can show the changing trend and share the idea.

 As you have your analysis ready, think of how to deliver the story that data tells you. Do you see a variable that has the highest volume? Have you explored the category with the biggest share? Make it visual! In order to create a graph, you should understand what you want to say. How would you like to highlight the fact that you discovered?

One can use different colors to make it visible. Don’t overload the graph with extra information – keep it simple for everyone to understand the meaning of the graph.

 You can visualize data in the tool that you used to process it.  Graphs can be created directly in Google Sheets where you processed the data. To do that, go to ‘Insert’ -> ‘Chart’ and select the chart type that is more suitable for your story. To select the right chart you may want to have a look at the references and successful examples. The most frequent types of graphs are bar charts or pie charts. They are the most visible to deliver information. Microsoft Excel does the same with even more options for graphs: Select the different cells in the xls-file and then choose ‘Insert’, next you can choose a wide variety graphs.

Infographics is an art in some sense and you can explore beautiful examples of data presentation. If you want to master this skill, it might be worth having a look at specialised services such as Infogram that is a free tool to create data charts.

One of the services that let you create charts and have a pleasant design is Datawrapper (a Germany-based tool). Datawrapper is easy and is free to use. The data should be cleaned and uploaded in the excel file to the server. You may choose the chart type depending on your needs. Once you uploaded the data, you can check how your chart will look like and what comments do you need to better explain the meaning behind. 

Another service that is handy and gives different options to visualise the data is Piktochart. This service provides users with extra tools such as designing layout for a poster and arranging text in a format that is easy to read and to understand. Templates that are available from the constructor let you arrange the information. 

 While exploring data visualisation you may find such types as bubble chart, radar chart, waterfall chart and many others. These types of charts should be used with a detailed understanding of not only the message behind but also of the design concepts not to mislead your reader. 

Be careful while using these types of data visualisation but if you master them, your audience will be pleased.

Activity
Try the tools and use them for creating visualized and geolocated surveys.

TOOLS DATA & RESOURCES NEEDED

– Google Sheets (https://survey123.arcgis.com/)
– Microsoft Excel
–  Infogram  (https://infogram.com/)
– Datawrapper  (https://www.datawrapper.de/ )
Piktochart (https://piktochart.com/ )

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
TIME REQUIRED
  • with Infogram in the browser: 60 min
  • with Google Sheets or Excel: 60 min