Top 8 Free Online Tools for Easily Collecting Data for Your Research
Researchers used to be equipped with pen and paper, and if lucky, a handheld recording device. Now, researchers have a whole world of mobile and digital technology at their disposable, must of which is free to use. Collecting, analyzing and sharing data has never before been so accessible.
Here is a list of some great online tools you can access for free to move your research project forward:
- Google Forms is a good place to start. It’s 100% free and gives you many useful features, including unlimited surveys, unlimited respondents and numerous theme options. Answers and data are automatically collected in Google Spreadsheets.
- SurveyMonkey allows you to create web surveys. The basic version is free, and you can upgrade to a premium service which offers more powerful features. This program helps you create polls and survey questionnaires. More than fifteen different question types are available such as open-ended questions and multiple choice questions, as well as matrixes with rows and columns. Surveys can then be sent out via mobile, social media or Web. Data can then be analyzed (you can export data to Excel or SPSS) and presented as charts or reports. Zoomerang used to be an alternative to SurveyMonkey, but now the two have merged.
- Opinio from ObjectPlanet enables you to create and conduct mobile surveys and interviews using your iPad or iPhone. It offers an option of either publishing the survey link to your webpage or inviting potential respondents via e-mail. Depending on your needs, the program can be either hosted or installed. Installation on multiple servers is also possible in a corporate environment.
- OpenDataKit (ODK) features a set of tools that can help organizations and researchers collect data, perform surveys, manage collected data and make decisions. It was specifically designed for use in developing regions. With ODK you can collect not only traditional data, but also video and audio data, images and bar codes.
- QuestionPro is another survey software that helps you design an attractive-looking survey, collect data and perform an analysis. You can create your own survey, copy an already existing professional template or upload a survey from a Microsoft Word file. Next, you collect your responses either online or offline and then analyze them using the software. You can also export the results to an Excel, SPSS or CSV file. Moreover, you can create appealing infographics or create formatted reports.
- Freebase used to be an open database that featured different topics designed by its contributors. It was described as the “Wikipedia for structured data”. Data from Freebase have now been transferred to Wikidata and Freebase became a part of the Wikidata community. Wikidata is a free knowledge base that is machine readable and allows you to ask questions about different topics that might pertain to your research.
- eSurvey Creator is available for free for the first month and is a good tool for conducting market research. As other similar software programs, it allows you to create a questionnaire and collect, analyze, and export your data in various formats.
- Survey Gizmo also has a free version that will accommodate your research if you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing tool and you only have up to 50 respondents. With the free version you can use several different question types and export to a CSV file.