I am looking for a secure data collection tool online to engage in email interviews. Thanks.

– Online Data Tools

Dear Online Data Tools,

Picking the correct data collection tool is often dependent on the design and needs of your survey. While the commonly used data tools like SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, PsychData, and Qualtrics all support basic question formats (single select, free response, matrixes, etc.), they differ in their download capabilities, easiness of use, and advanced features. SurveyMonkey allows for advanced branding such as logos, themes, and corporate colors. SurveyGizmo allows for data returned from the survey to be saved as an R data frame. PsychData allows for random assignment within and between surveys, and Qualtrics allows integration with NVivo 11 Plus. However, of the four, only PsychData was specifically designed for social science research so it meets IRB requirements, protects participant privacy and confidentiality, and allows for direct download of data into SPSS. PsychData also has the best user interface for easy creation of surveys and is the tool we recommend to students working on their thesis or dissertation.

However, when looking at different data collection tools, it’s also important to factor in the cost and PsychData is not cheap. If your needs are simple, your survey is short and fairly straightforward, and you do not need any advanced features then going with the most cost effective survey tool would make sense. SurveyMonkey is one of the cheaper options and offers a basic package for free, but we don’t recommend that as it only allows for 10 questions per survey and data cannot be downloaded as a csv or xls file. Instead we recommend the standard package as it comes with most of the features you will need such as unlimited questions per survey and downloadable data.

Many universities will also provide students with a free survey tool for data collection, so I recommend looking into that as well. You may be able to get PsychData at a much lower cost through their license agreements.

Hope this information has been helpful and good luck with your project!

—Zoheb Allam, MS


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