1. Enter name of The Best Thing Ever! LimeSurvey

2. Does it have a website (choose one): Yes No

2a. If Yes, what is the URL? http://www.limesurvey.org

3. What is the environment? Web (PHP)

4. How many surveys have you hand-coded? (choose one)

A. Zero
B. 1-10
C. 11-20
D. Too Many to count
E. Arghh the numbers are too large, they make my brain hurt.

5. How satisfied are you with online survey tools that limit the number of questions, or make you pay for them? (choose one)

A. Very Satisfied
B. Satisfied
C. Neutral
D. Somewhat Unsatisfied
E. Very Unsatisfied
F. Sweet mercy....I hate limited applications

If you answered anything except A on questions 4 and 5, you should take the time to look at using LimeSurvey. If you answered A on both then that makes you a lucky individual. I envy your innocence.

LimeSurvey is a 6 year old open source project that provides a way for multiple users to administer their own surveys. How many of you are tired of having to develop your own survey form, create and connect a database, develop permissions for people to access the survey, and then format the results? I'm guessing there's a whole lot of you who fit into that category. If i wanted to know for sure though, it would be a good bet that I'd use Limesurvey to poll you.

So why LimeSurvey?
It just works. It makes sense. There's barely any learning curve, unless you have never heard of a radio button list (select one), or check box list (select many).

You can find the full list of features on the LimeSurvey site, but a few of my favorites are:

* Unlimited number of surveys open at the same time
* Unlimited number of questions in a survey (only limited by your database)
* Unlimited number of participants to a survey
* User-Management
* 20 different question types with more to come
* Integration of pictures and movies into a survey
* Creation of a printable survey version
* Conditions for questions depending on earlier answers (Skip Logic / Branching)
* Re-usable editable answer sets
* Ready-made importable questions
* Survey expiry dates for automation
* Enhanced import and export functions to text, CSV, PDF, SPSS, queXML and MS Excel format
* Basic statistical and graphical analysis with export facility

The conditional question feature is possibly my favorite, just because its such a time saver. IE: If you answered A,B, or D in question 1, then display question 2, otherwise, skip question 2 and go to question 3. It really is as simple as point and click survey creation.

The more complex features may take a little while longer to become accustomed to, like using tokens for sending survey invitations via email merge. This is so you can track who has responded (and what they answered), and who has not responded yet.

While setting up the survey can take a significant amount of time, you usually will spend longer on the analysis of the data collected. LimeSurvey does a fantastic job of making it both easy to get quick stats on the data, or exporting it for use in another program (SPSS anyone?).

I could go on forever about much time it has saved me, but that would just waste more of the time you need to create your old fashioned surveys. So quit reading this, and go start using LimeSurvey. Your first survey can be to ask your users how much they like the ability to create their own surveys, and not have to rely on a break in your schedule.

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interesting.. is this better than surveybuilder? any thoughts of hosting a central version of this for all ncsu to use? too ambitious? not a good fit for that?
We've used it on a client by client basis. It's very flexible, easy to deploy, not bad to customize look and feel, and does a good job collecting data.

Not sure about it being centrally hosted...could be part of the package deal with hosted service.
I have not used surveybuilder before --- i'll defer to the group for more information on that comparison.


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