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Online Surveys with SOFA and Google Docs Spreadsheets


SOFA makes it easy to survey people and analyse the results. Just make a simple survey form in Google Docs, send a link to the people you want to survey (perhaps individually, perhaps in a newsletter), and import the data into SOFA Statistics from the underlying Google Docs Spreadsheet ready to make tables etc. You can even embed the survey in a web page.

Configure Survey

  • Add questions
    The options are limited compared to may survey tools but they should be adequate for a quick and simple survey.

  • Click “Done”
  • Click on the Theme button near the top and select a visual theme for the survey

  • View the result and click on “Apply” if you like it

Distribute Survey

The survey page displays the link to the survey.

  • You can email the link

    either manually, or using the “Email this form” button.
  • Or you can embed the survey in a webpage

Results Automatically Stored in Spreadsheet

Survey results are automatically stored in the spreadsheet that Google Docs automatically makes when you configure your form.

The new spreadsheet will appear in your list of spreadsheets.

Importing into SOFA for Analysis

Use the standard approach to importing from Google Docs spreadsheets.

Extra Data Preparation

Google Docs Spreadsheets store multi-choice responses as text rather than numbers. This is probably not a problem if the data is categorical (order doesn't matter) but if you are analysing Likert scales e.g. “Very Unhappy”, “Unhappy”, “Neutral”, “Happy”, “Very Happy”, you want the results reported in the correct order.

To achieve this we must recode the data so that “Very Unhappy” becomes 1, “Unhappy” becomes 2 etc.

Fortunately, SOFA has a GUI for recoding values. See Recoding data for details.


There will be many ways to report and analyse your data. The example below is a simple Frequency Table. Note how the labels have been applied to the recoded numbers.



help/online_surveys.txt · Last modified: 2010/12/02 14:07 (external edit)