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Creating online surveys with advanced web survey design requirements

There are many web survey software products on the market that now make it easier than ever to create web surveys. While these solutions usually allow you to easily design web survey forms they tend to be limited in features and allow for the creation of very a basic web questionnaire forms. This maybe adequate for simple and brief questionnaires that only require a basic web form, such as those used for marketing surveys, political polls, employee opinion and customer satisfaction questionnaires, but for medical, scientific and sociological research studies, these basic online tools are often inadequate and lack the design features that researchers required for more complex questionnaires and web sophisticated survey design requirements common in research studies.

Designing a good survey requires the tools and features that allow the researcher the creative freedom to design sophisticated online electronic forms/questionnaires that are visually appealing to the participants, but that also have the more advanced features needed for research, including audit trails, the ability to design complex form structures, eligibility check forms and dynamic form activation to trigger specific forms based on the participants response pattern. For clinical research it has become the norm to use electronic data capture software solutions that conforms to regulatory requirements (such as FDA 21 CFR Part 11 requirements) and GCP standards, which insures the integrity of the data collected, has functionalities designed to insure the security of the data and insures that any modifications to the data are tracked and traceable. This is typically lacking in web survey software. Even some of the free open source solutions from academia are far too limited in this respect. Dacima’s web survey software is interesting in this respect and quite unique. Since it was built on their existing Electronic Data Capture technology the web survey module incorporates the same standards and functionalities of their EDC software technology thus providing great flexibility and a package of features and functionalities allow you to design very advanced and sophisticated web surveys.  Some of the features include:

  • A complete audit trail, data query features, and a SAS code generator
  • Cross sectional and longitudinal survey design options
  • 21 CFR Part 11 compliance
  • Electronic signatures
  • The ability to divide you questionnaires into multiple forms which appear as a single web form for the participants.
  • Option to create eligibility (inclusion/exclusion) form which track the participants’ eligibility criteria and insures that only eligibly participates can complete the survey.
  • Ability to configure dynamic form activation so that only based on the response to specified questions, specific forms can be activated so that only the data that is relevant needs to be collected.
  • Options to configure different modes of recruiting subjects: automatic email invitations, URL access as well as anonymous survey which prevents the identification of the survey respondent making it ideal for surveys on sensitive subjects such as HIV in which maintaining the confidentiality of respondents is important.
  • Ability to collect data collection through the web or to manually enter data from paper questionnaires, another advantage that comes in handy when dealing with populations that are less computer savvy, such as the elderly.

Companies, academic researchers and organization often need to collect data directly from the population. Online surveys and polls provide allow businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and others to learn about their clients. For medical and sociological research web survey designs require more advanced capabilities that are needed to collect complex data from patients and physicians. Conducting complex research, whether for medical research or marketing, requires tools that allow you to create efficient workflows and web survey designs that effectively and accurately capture data in order to obtain the highest quality data.

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