What a beautiful world it would be if all information gathering was as simple and peaceful as the 6-person session shown above. Unfortunately, for many organizations that is simply not the case. Whether in person or digitally, getting answers from many people at once is difficult. Whether it’s gathering feedback for something or figuring out who can attend a specific event at what times, it can be tedious to manage opinions, juggle calendars, and hammer out a plan.
Most of the survey tools currently available are either expensive or have very limited features if free versions are offered. Plus, having to create and use them is tricky and tedious for those who actually design the forms as well as those who have to fill them out. Google Forms, however, is intuitive and eloquent, making information gathering as peaceful as the photogenic half-dozen above.
Introducing Google Forms
Google Forms, part of Google Drive for all users, allows for the very simple creation of feedback surveys, sign-up forms and much more, and allows for either quick or in-depth analysis of that information. We will see below how easy it is to create a form, some of a form’s useful features, and how to take full advantage of analyzing a form.
An actual “What you see is what you get” editor
Most survey-tool users complain that the form they edit on is not much like the one end-users actually see. With Google Forms, the form being created and the form used are almost exactly the same (minus the editing tools for respondents).
Within editing the form, questions can be dragged and dropped to different locations, many different types of questions can be chosen (short answer, paragraph, multiple choice, etc…), and different types of logic can be applied to specific questions (i.e. data validation for phone numbers and email addresses; jumping to sections based on answer choice).
Collaborate on Forms with others
Google is a champion when it comes to collaborating on content with others, and Forms is no exception. Simply select Add collaborators in the upper-right menu, and begin to work on forms and surveys with others instantly. No more need to share account passwords to access forms or wait for feedback through email - this can be done simultaneously.
An easy way to see responses and feedback
Toggle back and forth between the Questions and Responses tab, and you can switch back and forth between editing the form and seeing responses as they come in.
Responses appear in convenient pie charts for multiple choice questions, allowing you to see how many responses for each question have come in. For short answer and paragraph questions they appear individually, and one can also look at and scroll through the actual forms that respondents filled out.
In-depth analysis of Forms with Google Sheets and add-ons
Responses to a Google Form automatically link to a Google Sheet, meaning that you can quickly open up that sheet in your browser and analyze your responses further through name sorting, charts, and formulas to gain both qualitative and quantitative analyses of your response data.
Other add-ons similar to those in Google Docs can really boost the functionality of your Form. Once such add-on, formLimiter, allows you to configure turning off your form after a specific number of responses, after a specific date and time, or based on values entered in the form so that you don’t have to check constantly for that specific information.
Google Forms, just like its counterparts in Docs, Sheets and Slides, is very open, collaborative and easy to use. It allows you to save a lot of time and money creating a variety of questions for others and will allow you to analyze your feedback in a variety of ways, ensuring you have the right information for whatever event, task, or questions you ask.
Originally published on March 28, 2016