Google Forms are unarguably the easiest way to collect views and conduct surveys. Over the last few years Google has not only optimised the way surveys can be conducted, opinions can be recorded, but, has also provided the surveyors with many options to customise the look and feel of the forms. This is the time in India, when many architecture students would use Google Forms to gather opinions on their dissertation / thesis. Many students are doing it wrong and below, I am explaining how the process of conducting surveys could be made more effective.

1. Introduce yourself and your topic.

Even before you start bombarding people with the questions related to your dissertation / thesis, tell them about yourself and your topic in short. The introduction must focus on the intent of your study, important keywords and what information you are seeking from the participants.

2. Choose your audience carefully.

Decide whose opinions matter. Depending upon your area of study, you should decide the target participants. Is it to be your fellow students, your teachers, professionals, laymen, users of the spaces, or people, like contractors, labour, project managers?

I have seen many students limiting their approach to fellow students, teachers and at the most those professionals whom they know personally. It is convenient to do that, but useless. It doesn’t really help students with their topic of study. It is best to reach out to professionals and people outside your campus. Reach out to people having different kinds of beliefs, practices, scale of work and even location. Try and reach out to people located across India, and if time permits, across the globe. Don’t limit your survey to one or two cities.

Don’t send your survey forms through FB Chat or WhatsApp. Emails are best. If you don’t receive replies, send a gentle reminder. Follow up again and then just leave it. It’s okay.

3. Don’t just ask questions, design your questionnaire.

Google Forms allow almost all types of answers, from multiple selection to check boxes and even paragraph texts. Choose the type of answer that you are expecting and the order of your questions very carefully. Expecting your answers as only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ doesn’t really work. There is a world beyond Yes and No, it’s called Po. Read this.

Include images, wherever necessary along with their copyrights and source.

People are busy, give enough time to your participants to study and understand your form, but, ensure that your survey form can be filled in less than 2 minutes.

4. Language matters, and it does matter.

Many survey forms put off people, because of the language and grammatical errors. It is okay to be not good at English, but, it’s not okay to not accept it and seek help from others who are better at it. Spend good time reading your own questionnaire and amending it multiple times before it is sent to the participants. Send your questionnaire to your friends or experts not for their opinions on the topic, but, to know if it can be improved and made more effective.

5. Say Thank you.

Google Forms have a place where you can say Thank You, but, if you have approached someone on email or phone it is best to send a personal Thank You message in addition to the standard message that all participants receive.

Credits — Abhiviraj Dev Singh