Survey Select Expert 5.1
Surveys play a vital role in
assessing customer attitudes and needs, but until fairly
recently, they were often cost- or manpower-prohibitive
to small companies. However, Web-based surveys have brought
assessment tools within easy reach of even the most frugal
companies. Survey Select Expert, a survey design and analysis
tool from SurveyConnect, is one of the latest entries into
this field--and the best we have tested to date. Its easy-to-use
interface, high degree of flexibility and excellent reporting
capabilities put it at the high end of the spectrum for
such tools at this price.
Survey Select Expert comes with 31 prebuilt surveys for
human resources, marketing, education and associations.
These can be used as-is, but you'll more than likely add,
delete or modify the existing questions to suit your particular
If you need to design your survey from scratch, it's easily
done. Add a question to your survey worksheet, and a properties
box allows you to input all the parameters for that question:
question text, scale type, scale weight, scale location
Survey Select Expert includes dozens of the most popular
survey scales (yes/no; various Likert scales, such as strongly
agree/strongly disagree; satisfaction scales; open-ended
text; and so forth), or you can design your own. Most of
the canned scales allow three to five response levels and
can be set to choose one or choose many responses. If you
design a lot of surveys that use the same questions or custom
scales over and over again, you can archive your questions
or scales in a user library.
Several of the question properties enhance the type of
analysis you can later perform on response data. For instance,
if you will need to calculate response means, the designer
can determine the order for the response scale. A five-level
strongly agree to strongly disagree scale can be set up
to give response values of 1 through 5 where 1 is strongly
agree, or 5 through 1 where 5 is strongly agree. This eliminates
having to later transpose responses to negatively phrased
questions prior to analysis. If you plan on doing percent-favorable
analysis, scales may also be weighted, the designer determining
whether, for instance, a "strongly agree" is a
negative or positive response. Another very useful feature
is the ability to assign questions to topics (categories).
Later, you can perform analysis against topics as well as
individual questions cross-tabbed against that topic.
Most Web-deployable surveys offer conditional branching,
the ability to skip questions based on responses. Survey
Select Expert's interface for doing this is the most intuitive
we have seen.
Survey Select Expert allows your completed survey to be
deployed via Web, e-mail and hard copy. But because it has
no WYSIWYG interface, you must first experiment to see how
it formats output for Web and hard copy. Once that's understood,
the output is pretty predictable. We found the Web-deployed
surveys to be well laid out and with no big surprises. The
hard-copy output was a little more problematic, suffering
from several minor formatting problems and one semiserious
one, such as questions sometimes being scrunched together
or instruction text blocks missing altogether. But bringing
the document into Microsoft Word and fiddling with the text
easily fixed these.
Once deployed, response data can be pulled from a Web
site directly into Survey Select Expert, pulled from a MAPI-compliant
e-mail program or input manually.
Survey Select Expert's built-in analysis tool should do
the trick for most users: mean, standard deviation, cross
tabs, double cross tabs, gap analysis, count, percent, percent-favorable,
and more, all of these against either questions or topics
and with or without demographic filters. Reports are easily
generated using the more than 200 report wizards, which
are smartly categorized. It's even possible to filter reports
by key words in text fields, a useful tool for processing
data only from respondents who write specific comments,
e.g., "excellent." You can also design your own
analysis using a built-in design tool that offers more analysis
options than the wizards. The analysis tool's charting capabilities
are good, with the standard selection of bar, pie, 3-D,
line, area, polar, etc.
For those who need more robust analysis tools, Survey
Select Expert will export in SPSS format for direct use
with that product, or in ODBC/ADO, or ASCII formats.
Overall, Survey Select Expert is an excellent tool priced
appropriately for its functionality. If your company does
many surveys and you need a flexible design and analysis
tool, Survey Select Expert may be the ticket. At least download
the demo and give it a test.
Dirk Dusharme is Quality Digest's technology editor. Letters
to the editor regarding this article can be e-mailed to
Survey Select Expert V. 5.1
Requirements: Pentium computer; 128 MB
RAM (256 MB or more recommended for intense analysis); Windows
98, 2000, NT or XP; SVGA and 100 MB hard drive space.
Price: Single user: $1,495. Volume discounts
Contact: SurveyConnect Inc.
2503 Walnut St., Ste. 201
Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 449-2969
Fax: (303) 938-4015