Jisc Online Surveys

Our Applications Advocates series continues with Senior Business Analyst, Jamie Taylor telling us about Jisc Online Surveys.  

Jamie outlines the main features of the app, why you might find it useful, and tips for getting the most from it.

Keep an eye out for future articles in this series.

Name of application

Jisc Online Surveys (formerly Bristol Online Surveys)

How to find and use it

Jisc Online Surveys is a web-based application that can be accessed at https://www.onlinesurveys.ac.uk

A user account needs to be created by IT Services before using the system - use this link to request access and select 'Online Survey Account'. From there, just complete the access form and IT Services will do the rest.

Once your account has been created, you can use Jisc Online Surveys to create professional looking surveys to share with your stakeholders and gather important data.

What it does

Jisc Online Surveys provides users with all the tools they need to create surveys, distribute them and then analyse the results. 

Creating surveys is easy with several different types of questions available for use e.g. questions for gathering text-based responses, questions for gathering scale-based responses, questions for gathering multiple choice-based responses, etc. 

The tool has an excellent dashboard allowing you to easily see what surveys are currently live, when they end, and which ones are still in draft/ended. Each survey created in the tool has its own uniquely generated URL which can easily be shared with your participants. 

Once the survey is closed, you can download the responses in an Excel file to analyse the data offline.

How it looks

Creating and editing questions


Launching a survey

Jisc Online Surveys – best bits and top tips

  • There aren’t any templates out of the box but ask a friendly colleague to share one of their surveys with you and you can create a copy.
  • Always remember to preview your survey before finalising. The preview function allows you to see what the survey looks like to your participants. This helps you to get a feel for whether the survey questions flow logically for the end-user.
  • Generally, when building a survey, consider how the user is feeling when completing it. For instance...  
  1. Is it too long-winded/cumbersome?  
  2. Are the questions leading in any way? 
  3. Also, how useful will the data be?
  4. Will the answers give you the information you’re looking for?
  5. Will the answers be easy to analyse and draw conclusions from?
  • This can all be figured out through testing so...
    1. Ensure you get a few test responses before launching the survey to make sure the data you get back is usable.
    2. You want to make sure that you can answer the question with the data you have collected and without testing, you may have to follow up with an additional survey to gain more information. 
  • Consider the rules around data protection and ensure you’re not collecting anything personal or sensitive unless it’s necessary. 

It’s a life-saver for…

When you’re asked to create a survey – this is a simple tool that can create professional looking surveys quickly. It’s also recommended by IT Services so there is no need to worry that the tool is insecure in anyway. 

Gathering large amounts of data across a wide range of stakeholders – sometimes running a workshop isn’t feasible because your stakeholders are all too busy and/or there are just too many of them to organise an event.

What makes it better than its closest competitor?

MS Forms is also recommended by IT Services, however, I would argue that Jisc Online Surveys has a more intuitive interface and the surveys it produces look more appealing. Functionality-wise, these two are on a par.

Survey Monkey is also another popular name in the survey creation market however, it’s not recommended for use by IT Services. Survey Monkey does produce nice results and due to its general popularity, has a lot of interesting features too. 

Do you have a favourite application?  

Get in touch and let us know.  To find other applications in this series, just type 'Advocate' into the search box at the top of this page.