As I’ve previously mentioned, we use Google Apps at my school. One of the great features is Google Forms. They’re so easy to create, easy to personalise, and the best part? Not only can you get the results to populate automatically into a Google Spreadsheet (which you can export to MS Excel etc), but you can also get it to automatically analyse the responses given, irrespective of how many responses are submitted. You can either send out a link to the form, embed it into a website, or put it straight into an email so that users don’t have to go anywhere else to complete their response – a handy feature when you require responses. I’ve found that the less people have to go looking for the form, the more likely they are to complete it.
Creating and sending out a Google Form is incredibly easy. First, open up Google Drive and hit the create button.
One of the options is Form. Clicking that brings up a new tab/window, and also gives you a pop up allowing you to give your form a title and a theme.
You don’t have to choose a theme – and if you’re going to send out your form via email, then it’s irrelevant anyhow. Whether you choose a theme or not, you’ll then be taken to your new form.
Here you can start putting your questions together. The question title is the question itself, and you can add further detail in the ‘Help Text’ box. There are a variety of pre-set question types, and each will provide you with an appropriate set up for responses.
You also have the option of making questions compulsory or not. Once you’ve set up all of your questions, you can choose to edit some of the other options, including what happens to responses and whether or not user details are collected. Often when I’ve used these forms at school, I’ve collected the usernames. This has allowed me to ask follow-up questions as necessary, and in the case of the eSafety Audit we’ve been working on, also acts as evidence of staff being involved in training. You can use the toolbar to set some of these options up:
Once all of this is done, it’s time to either embed the form or send it out. I’ve set up a whole host of Google Groups within our domain to allow this to be done with ease. I have groups for staff, students, departments, classes etc.
Sending out the form means that not only is it saved in your Google Drive, but the spreadsheet is also created and saved.
The spreadsheet with responses is listed as ‘shared’ only because I’ve chosen to do that with a colleague. This is just done using normal sharing procedures for any Google Doc.
Besides the ease of which I can create and send out these forms, the other feature I truly love about using Google Forms is the Summary of Responses. Like all helpful features, I discovered this the day after I spent about 4 hours manually analysing results of a survey I’d sent to all students, with about 15 questions on it. I’d offered them Vivos for responses as an encouragement, and as a consequence had about 150 responses. Little did I know that with literally two clicks of the mouse, I could have had it all done for me…
Open up your spreadsheet with the responses, and from the menu choose ‘Form’. You then want ‘Show summary of responses’.
This opens up a new window with all of your responses helpfully sorted into relevant summaries, for example pie charts.
Text answers are simply collated, but I’ve found that copying the text into a wordcloud app such as Tagxedo helps to figure out the most common responses.
Another useful tool is the summary of daily responses – it’s not necessarily useful for a lot of tasks, but it doesn’t hurt to check it out on certain forms. I’ve found it useful when doing parental surveys (which I’ve embedded on our school website).
This isn’t a be-all and end-all guide for using Google Forms, but hopefully it helps some new users to figure them out and use them with ease.