SurveyPro 5 FAQ's
Still have questions about the SurveyPro software? Below are some answers. You might also check out the Features page for an overview of the benefits of SurveyPro, and the Specifications page for more of the nitty-gritty details.
- What do I need to purchase to get started?
- Can I do multiple surveys at the same time?
- Are there any per-respondent or per-survey fees?
- Do you have annual maintenance fees? What about upgrades?
- Does it do longitudinal studies?
- How about reporting by quarter, department, or region?
- How about 360 analyses?
- Can I publish reports to the web?
- Can I make a survey in Spanish/French/German...?
- Will it work with my database or reporting software like SPSS?
- How was it developed? What's it written in?
- Do you have a Macintosh version?
- Can I open demo files in the full program?
- What are the system requirements?
- How much programming knowledge do I need?
- How do I post my survey on the Internet?
- Can I use passwords?
- Can I emulate my own web site's look and branding?
- Will it do branching or skips?
- Can respondents leave/pause the survey and come back with their answers saved?
- What kinds of piping are supported?
- What's a "Server Administrator" and why do I need one?
- How secure is the information?
- How do I get the data files?
- Do respondents need any special software?
- Do web surveys work on mobile platforms?
- How many people can respond at once?
- Will it work with an HTML editor like Web Expressions or Dreamweaver?
- Do I need to use your server application (ASP scripts and DLLs) on our own server?
- What servers does it work on? Do I need to install any special software?
General: Multimedia Surveys and ReportsBack to top ^
Q: What do I need to purchase to get started?
Simply purchase enough licenses for the people who will be designing surveys and generating reports. If you need additional people doing data entry or telephone interviewing (CATI), more data entry stations are available at no charge.
For scanning, you would purchase SurveyPro and scanning software. With our OMR partner's software we can take responsibility for the combination; you get single-vendor support.
For web surveys, if you have your own compatible web server then SurveyPro is all you need. If you would like us to host your surveys for you, then you would use QuestionWeb self-service hosting.Back to top ^
Q: Can I do multiple surveys at the same time?
Yes. You can:
- Create an unlimited number of surveys, both on paper and the web
- Keep multiple versions of the same survey in the same file
- Deploy the same survey in various media and analyze results together
Are there any per-respondent or per-survey fees?
We are happy to have a very short answer: No.Back to top ^
Do you have annual maintenance fees? What about upgrades?
There are no required maintenance fees or subscriptions — maintenance updates may be downloaded free from our Web site. Support contracts are available if you wish to continue support past the 30 days of free support provided with purchase. Substantial upgrades to the features of the software are available for purchase but never required, with a substantial discount for existing customers.Back to top ^
Q: Does it do longitudinal studies?
Absolutely. SurveyPro expects your survey to be ongoing and evolving over time, so elements which remain constant can be compared across time while new issues can also be addressed with revised surveys. Using our Report On feature, like a crosstab at the report document level, you can even set up a standard report and then select which time segment(s) you want to analyze — no need to generate a whole new report.Back to top ^
Q: How about reporting by quarter, department, or region?
SurveyPro has a nifty feature called Report On. It allows you to set up a report once, and then with just a few clicks, run that report for each segment of your database. You can segment it by any question or questions (banner) in the survey — could be based on the date to report on progress by year or quarter, by individual departments, or any demographic question. You can even rescale your demographic to change the groupings for reporting purposes — if the survey asked what state they are in, you can group states into your company's sales regions, for example.Back to top ^
Q: How about 360 analyses?
SurveyPro supports 360 analysis using its Report On feature. For really fast reporting you can create one report format then have it print out copies of the report for each employee being evaluated. In addition, SurveyHost offers a portal page designed to help organize a 360 project for the respondents, demo available here.Back to top ^
Q: Can I publish reports to the web?
Yes, SurveyPro will publish an HTML version of your reports to a folder which can be added to your website. Also, if you have an Acrobat PDF Writer you can create a .pdf version of your report for emailing or posting.Back to top ^
Q: Can I make a survey in Spanish/French/German...?
Yes. SurveyPro supports the full Microsoft Windows Codepage 1252 (ANSI) character set. You can also translate all labels used in the documents, such as the Other blanks and statistical labels. For a full list of supported languages, see http://www.apian.com/software/surveypro/specifications.php#nine.Back to top ^
Q: Will it work with my database or reporting software like SPSS?
SurveyPro works with ASCII files, MS Access MDB, and SQL databases so it can speak to almost any program on any platform. The software includes a proprietary database optimized for survey data, providing fast data tabulations, multiple-answer handling, and small file sizes.Back to top ^
Q: How was it developed?/ What's it written in?
C++, C#, Visual Basic, and .NET. All are developed with standard Microsoft tools and Windows libraries.Back to top ^
Q: Do you have a Macintosh version?
Users are running it successfully under PC emulators on the Mac, but there is no native version at this time.Back to top ^
Q: Can I open demo files in the full program?
Yes.Back to top ^
Q: What are the system requirements?
Short answer: any Windows system since Win 98 with the recommended RAM should be fine for SurveyPro, the design and analysis package. For details please see our specifications sheet.
Web SurveysBack to top ^
Q: How much programming knowledge do I need?
None. SurveyPro's Server Application is driven by a configuration file for your survey which is automatically created when you publish the Web pages. This configuration includes all the information about branching, field checking (for format or completion), passwords, piping, etc. These features are set by selecting options in the questionnaire design dialogs — not by programming.Back to top ^
Q: How do I post my survey on the Internet?
The survey needs to be hosted on a web server. You have several choices with SurveyPro:
- On your own web server, in-house or from a cloud service. (In most cases not a 3rd party shared server — you need to have full control of the server to be able to install the Server Application.)
- Via QuestionWeb, our self-service hosting option, where you lease space on our survey cloud servers. You publish the survey and download your data yourself.
- In some case we may be able to handle the hosting for you. Contact sales if you are interested in this option.
Q: Can I use passwords?
Yes, SurveyPro supports all these types of passwords:
- a single value (global password)
- a set of values which can be used many times (multiple shared passwords)
- values unique to each respondent (individual passwords) which you can set to
be for one-time use or reusable. You can generate the passwords any of these ways:
- randomly generated alphanumeric passwords in SurveyPro (pool size up to 11 million)
- import a list such as e-mail addresses or customer IDs
- create the list dynamically, by passing a value such as an order number via a URL, or by having respondents enter a unique value such as their email address.
- name/password combinations, where you ask for two pieces of information together
Q: Can I emulate my own web site's look and branding?
The layout design controls built into SurveyPro generally provide enough control over colors, fonts and images to allow your survey to emulate the style of your web site. That allows you to link out to the survey where ever it is hosted seemlessly and return when it is completed.Back to top ^
Q: Will it do branching or skips?
Yes. A skip is when you send people to a page based on an earlier answer — for example if they purchased a car in the last year they would see the page with car questions, if they did not purchase a car they would skip this page. A branch is also called an "include" — you might ask which brands of cars they've owned, and they are sent to a page of questions for each brand they selected. Complex skips and branches are supported in SurveyPro, including:
- You can use any question from an earlier page or the current page as the skip/branch trigger — the question that determines the respondents next viewed page.
- Complex patterns of nested skips/branches can be created.
- You can set a separate skip destination for when a respondent does not answer the skip trigger question, or you could choose to require the skip trigger question.
- You can skip/branch based on hidden fields, such as the respondent's password or a value passed via the launching URL, not just on information entered by the respondent.
Q: Can respondents leave/pause the survey and come back with their answers saved?
Yes. They can pause and resume via bookmark, favorites list, cookie, or randomly generated resume code. Cookies are used if the respondent allows but are not required for resuming; SurveyPro does not depend on cookies for session management.Back to top ^
Q: What kinds of piping are supported?
Piping is when you move data from one place to another dynamically, as the respondent moves through the survey. You can:
- pipe data from a SQL database or .csv file. For example, you could present respondents with the contact info you have on file for them and allow them to update it if necessary.
- pipe responses into later question text. For example, ask people to name their favorite brand of soda, and then in later questions specifically ask them about the soda they entered earlier.
- pipe or pass data via the launching URL. This could be used to save respondents the trouble of entering their password — just mail merge it into the URL they receive in their email invitation. Or, it might be a dynamically generated value such as an order number from an online store.
Q: What's a "Server Administrator" and why do I need one?
If you plan to host your web surveys on your own server, you will need assistance from your IT department or server administrator. Most Web servers have restricted access to certain functions, usually including the installation of server applications — the Server (or Web) Administrator holds the passwords to these functions. The NetCollect server installation is designed to minimize back-and-forth with your administrator, since the application only has to be installed once. All future surveys require simple file uploads which are generally less restricted and which you should be able to do yourself from your desktop.
The "server application" is a package of support code that manages the survey on the server (login and the survey pages). It is a combination of ASP scripts and DLLs built in standard Microsoft Visual Studio and installed like any other Windows application. Please check with your IT department to make sure they will allow an installation of DLLs — if not, QuestionWeb hosted on our survey cloud server is available as an alternate method of putting your survey on the web.Back to top ^
Q: How secure is the information?
There are two answers to this, depending on whether we host your survey or you do.
- On your server: This depends largely on your individual server protections. NetCollect projects require an administrator's password for functions such as creating new data files, and the data can be stored in a hidden directory. However, the number of people in your organization with access to the Web server can vary widely, as can protections against external intrusions. Check with your IT department about their ability to offer SSL (https), hardware firewalls, and any other security measures you deem appropriate.
- On our server: With both QuestionWeb and SurveyHost, we offer a variety of security measures. SSL encryption is available to protect responses as they travel between the respondent's browser and our server (useful if internal security is an issue for an employee survey, for example). We offer extensive security on all projects, Contact us for details.
Q: How do I get the data files?
Every time someone answers the survey, their response is added to a data file on the server. To get the file(s), you go to your secure dashboard and download the latest data with just a few clicks. You can also monitor your survey's progress with instant online reports and activity logs.Back to top ^
Q: Do respondents need any special software?
Q: Do web surveys work on mobile platforms?
Check the “Handheld Survey for Mobile Devices” example on this sample page. It was created in SurveyPro using the flexibility of the built-in web design tools.Back to top ^
Q: How many people can respond at once?
A lot. The server application has been tuned to handle heavy traffic. Surveys with tens of thousands of respondents are routine and many customers have successfully deployed much larger projects. The server application has a 'throttling' cutoff to prevent peak loads from monopolizing the server capacity. The default throttle is conservatively set at 500 page starts/minute on your own server or with high capacity QuestionWeb. Please note that 500 page starts per minute means that for a 5-page survey, 100 people can start the survey every minute, and 6,000 people can take the survey every hour. On your own server you have complete control over this setting for a high volume survey.Back to top ^
Q: Will it work with an HTML editor like Web Expressions or Dreamweaver?
Yes. The only thing you have to be careful of is not to add, edit or delete any of the questions or fields after exporting from NetCollect (except for superficial things like fonts). If they were altered, it could affect your ability to import back into SurveyPro.
However, most users find that the many levels of layout and design controls, as well as the advanced functionality, make further customization unnecessary. Or will be small cosmetic adjustments quickly done in a smart text editor like Notepad++.Back to top ^
Q: Do I need to use your server application (ASP scripts and DLLs) on our own server?
SurveyPro and the server application are closely linked so you will want to use as much as possible. However, there are custom coding "hooks" provided for your enhancement use, without needing to modify or replace the core functionality. If you need functions the scripts do not perform, please contact Technical Support before coding any changes. We may be able to find a way to meet your needs without custom coding — we have considerable experience with making complex custom modifications to our survey scripts for customers with special needs.Back to top ^
Q: What servers does it work on? Do I need to install any special software?
The full functionality of the web survey features requires a Windows server (Server 2000, 2003 or 2008). Detailed information on installing the server application (scripts and DLLs) comes with your NetCollect installation, a straightforward process.
QuestionWeb provides hosting on our survey cloud servers if you do not wish to do your own server installation.Back to top ^
Scanning SurveysBack to top ^
Q: What types of scanners can I use with SurveyPro?
There are two types of scanners: image scanners and mark readers.
- Image scanners are the "general purpose" flatbed or sheet fed scanners which are used for everything from graphics to surveys. Paired up with scanning OMR software, these will read the custom forms SurveyPro creates. If you own a scanner with a sheet feeder, you may already have the hardware you need.
- Mark-readers are a different technology, since they have fixed scanning eyes which look for marks in set columns--you've encountered them with forms used for standardized tests (remember your SATs?). These scanners cannot read the free-form SurveyPro questionnaires, and generally work only with the pre-printed forms sold by mark-reader scanning manufacturers and their partners. While these can be used as answer sheets to a survey printed from SurveyPro (on a separate document), we recommend the plain paper style used with image scanners. Plain paper surveys are more attractive, more versatile as you can photocopy them or receive them back by fax, and you can keep your questions and answers on a single document. Plus you don't have to purchase those expensive pre-printed forms!
Q: What is "scanning software" and why do I need it?
A general-purpose scanner basically takes a digital photo. Mark recognition (OMR) software takes that image and based on your settings turns that into a data file for your survey. This in turn can be imported into SurveyPro. We can recommend programs which are compatible with SurveyPro's forms, plus we have partnered with a leading vendor to provide you a smoothly integrated process from questionnaire design to reports. That allows our Technical Support staff to help you with the whole process.Back to top ^
Q: What about written answers?
SurveyPro creates "tick-mark" boxes for block printed items such as names or SSNs, and these can be read by some OCR (Optical Character Recognition) programs. There's nothing yet which can read handwriting reliably, though, so the scanning software saves an image of the answer, and a data entry clerk simply types it in.Back to top ^
Q: Can I use a Fax?
Fax machines can be considered low-resolution scanners. Some programs will intercept and interpret faxes.Back to top ^
Q: What about bar codes and multiple pages?
SurveyPro can print forms coded with bar codes, say to identify forms for a particular store or trade show. The OMR software can read the bar code to select the appropriate page template or to pass the data along for analysis.
Multi-page surveys are fine.Back to top ^
Q: Can you handle the scanning for me?
Very likely. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Kiosk Surveys (DirectCollect)Back to top ^
Q: What constitutes a "kiosk"?
You can create a kiosk survey for any Windows system. It could be as simple as a laptop that is used to administer surveys in the field, or a keyboardless system on a desk, or a specially packaged kiosk in a shopping mall or airport.Back to top ^
Q: Do I have to import responses into SurveyPro one-by-one?
No. In most cases the answers flow into one data file, or there is a batch import function for surveys by email.Back to top ^
Q: Can I e-mail surveys to respondents?
Technically yes, but most email applications and corporate firewalls now block .exe attachments making this impractical. However the web has become ubiquitous so we recommend creating web surveys and emailing an invitation link to your respondents using our Respondent EMailer or a mass email service.Back to top ^
Q: How about telephone interviewing (CATI)?
DirectCollect comes with an application to support telephone surveys, but the web has come to dominate this area too.
It is easy to build a web survey, giving each of your operators a browser station selecting the appropriate SurveyPro password controls (which can allow pause-resume if needed). The answers can either go to a QuestionWeb folder or your own server, managed with SurveyPro web survey tools. You can check progress, pull off data as often as you wish and maintain running reports.
In either case you can have as many stations as you wish without additional charges – the capability you need is included in SurveyPro.Back to top ^
Q: Will my reports automatically update?
Yes. Reports update anytime you change, enter, or import data.
Adding Data Entry Stations (KeyCollect)Back to top ^
Q: When do I need KeyCollect?
You can add data entry stations any time you have more paper forms than you want to personally enter, especially with large number of open-ended questions. Another option is to modify your paper survey be scanned, which is very quick to change in SurveyPro. You can either setup your own scanning station or we can process the forms for you.
KeyCollect also includes a verification mode for critical data. See answer below.Back to top ^
Q: How does KeyCollect work?
KeyCollect takes the data template file SurveyPro creates and uses that to build a data file for each data entry clerk. These are then imported into SurveyPro with just a few clicks.Back to top ^
Q: How much training does it take?
Users have reported that 5 minutes training is sufficient for data entry clerks. The documentation includes complete tutorials for basic and more specialized features such as mass replace and verify, as well as a complete on-line reference. It can be used either by people with only basic computer skills or by numeric keypad experts.Back to top ^
Q: Can it verify the accuracy of the data entry?
Yes. Double-entry data verification is done by having two different people enter the same set of forms (second entry can be just a few critical questions). KeyCollect then flags any discrepancies for checking against the original form. Corrections can be done either in a batch or one form at a time.Back to top ^
Q: Can KeyCollect users change my questionnaire or reports?
No. The KeyCollect users are working from a locked data entry template, so your survey project file is always protected.Back to top ^
Q: Will KeyCollect check for missed data?
Yes. It will enforce all the answer tests and skips you have designed into the survey.Back to top ^
Q: Can I spell check answers?