The Gist: Survey Monkey

The Gist will be a regular series at FreshSpectrum.com providing brief overviews of potentially useful applications for researchers, evaluators, and academics.

Link: http://www.surveymonkey.com

What is it?

Survey Monkey is your run of the mill web survey application.

How much?

Three pricing levels. Free, $19.95/month, $200/year. The stripped down free version only allows up to 10 questions and 100 responses per survey. For most researchers this is nothing more than a demo. The only difference between monthly and annual subscriptions is the response cap. Monthly = 1,000 responses/month across all surveys, Annual = unlimited. An incentive to switch up to Annual beyond the slightly lower per month cost.

The Good

Survey Monkey is a known quantity. It has all the basic question types, skip-logic, and validation. It is easy to use and has been around long enough to work through some of the bugs you might find with other web survey tools. The pdf feature is handy. You can now easily create customizable survey monkey short links for all of your surveys.

The Bad

Survey Monkey, like many other web-based survey tools, does not allow for advanced skip logic, page conditions, pre-loaded data, question piping, conditional response filtering, or any of the other more advanced questionnaire programming features. You cannot create the same big clunky table questions you are used to creating on paper surveys (note: they really don’t work well online anyway). Anyone who takes a Survey Monkey survey will know it as the program does not allow for the use of custom domains.

The Gist

If you’re looking for a solid web survey program at an affordable price you won’t go wrong with Survey Monkey. Keep in mind that advanced logic and complicated questions do not make better surveys. Sometimes working with a simple set of rules can make the instrument easier for the respondent while reducing the chance of programming error.