What to Look for in an Online Survey Tool for Academic Research

When performing academic research, you want to be as effective and efficient as possible. As we all know, budgets are tight in academia, so you need an online survey tool that gives you the most bang for your buck. Whether you’re studying health, science, business, education, politics, or any other major, at some point, surveys will fall into your academic research. But what exactly should you look for in online survey software? What features do you need to build the best research survey?

What should you look for in online survey software when performing academic research?

It’s important to get as many responses to your surveys as possible in order to have a legitimate amount of data to process. Identifying an audience of hundreds is excellent, but if your survey only draws responses from 10% of that audience, your small sample size may result in inaccurate data. An online survey tool with the right features will help you increase responses and gather the data you need to support your hypothesis or dissertation.

Related: 3 Common Errors in Survey Research (and How to Avoid Them)

Once you do collect that valuable data, you need to be able to sort, analyze, and distribute it easily. That’s not feasible with paper, so online survey software is your best choice. To best serve your research objectives, look for a survey tool that has powerful analytics capabilities that streamline data storing, management, and reporting.

Ready to start your hunt for an online survey tool to support your academic research? Here are five things to keep in mind when making your selection.

Ease of Use

First, consider the ease of use for the survey creator. Are the surveys easy to build and launch? Does it take any coding or IT knowledge to develop an in-depth survey? If you’re doing solo research or are part of a small team, you want a tool that can get up and running with little to no research or help.

Can you change the colors, fonts, and images in the surveys? This is an important feature because aligning your survey with your college or university branding will give your survey more credibility.

Once you’ve confirmed it’s easy to build, edit, and launch your research surveys, it’s time to think about the ease of use for the survey taker. Are you able to show one question at a time to minimize how long the survey looks? Are there plenty of question formats to make the survey easy to understand? An added bonus would be the ability to use images to make for a more interactive and engaging experience.

Adding images to an online survey makes it more engaging and increases survey participation.

Offline Availability

Whether you’re collecting survey submissions online or in-person, it can be handy to have a tool that allows you to collect data without an internet connection. Perhaps you’re gathering data during an event, and don’t have a secure internet connection. Choosing a survey tool with offline access enables you to gather the data you need without facing barriers from internet access.

Analytics and Reporting

Whether you’re having 100 people take your survey or 1,000, you need a tool that has powerful analytics and reporting. Exporting your data to various file formats is an important feature to look for, since you might need to analyze data in many different ways.

To make presenting your data a simple process, look for an online survey tool that has pre-built reports. This will majorly cut down the time you invest in creating visuals from your data, giving you more time to focus on other aspects of research.

International Language Support

Your research might include participants from all across the world, whose native language is not English. Make sure to choose a survey tool that has international language support. This will allow you to conduct research in multiple languages. Look for a tool that has international keyboards for iOS and Android to make it easy for survey users to answer text-based questions.

Mobile Compatibility  

Today more than ever, people are using their mobile phones to do almost everything. From ordering groceries to streaming music, our phones have become a one-stop-shop for anything we might need or want to do.

Because of this, you need to make sure all of your surveys are mobile-friendly out of the box. This way, your survey participants can submit their answers from a phone, tablet, or computer. Look for a survey tool that is mobile-optimized, which ensures all your surveys look pristine on any mobile device without any extra work or coding.


Ready to find the perfect online survey tool that features all the tools above? Look no further than QuickTapSurvey! You can build and launch any type of academic research survey you need within minutes. There are many pre-built templates available to help you get started. Build your first survey for free now.

Lindsay McGuire

Lindsay McGuire

Lindsay is a digital content SEO specialist, splitting her time between developing SEO strategies and creating content. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and enjoys all facets of marketing.