A review of free online survey tools for undergraduate students

Rob Farmer, Phil Oakman, Paul Rice

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview Articlepeer-review


Undergraduate students are often required to collect survey data as part of their studies, but they rarely receive any detailed guidance on choosing an appropriate free online survey tool. In addition, many universities do not provide undergraduate students with an institutionally supported and managed online survey tool. Because there are so many online survey services available, the lack of an institutionally managed survey tool coupled with a lack of proper guidance on their selection and use can cause a great deal of stress and possible expense to students. In order to alleviate this problem, ten prominent free online survey services were reviewed in order to give students, particularly undergraduate students in higher education, some guidance in this matter. Three essential criteria were borne in mind when evaluating the tools: ease of use; ability to export data, and; UK Data Protection Act compliance. Although this paper is predominantly focused on UK students undertaking surveys which collect data that could personally identify a respondent, conclusions are generalised to include recommendations for surveys collecting non-personally identifiable data, and for students studying outside of the UK. Based on the findings of the review, students needing to use a free online survey tool are recommended to use eSurv for all surveys, unless they are given alternative directions by academic staff or others at their institution. In addition, we further recommend that both eSurv and Quick Surveys are appropriate for surveys collecting non-personally identifiable data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalMSOR Connections
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2017


  • online survey
  • questionnaire survey
  • market research
  • eSurv


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