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Collect Data with a Survey

Resources for learning about and conducting public opinion and other research surveys, including recruitment, questionnaire design, and online survey software.

Qualtrics is an online survey tool that is very popular with researchers because of the combination of power and ease of use. It has many tools for branching and randomization and can output data as a fully-labeled SPSS file (in addition to standard Excel and csv). If you do not know what software to use, you can contact the Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) at to discuss the various options.

Access to Qualtrics

George Mason University has a university-wide license for Qualtrics. All students, faculty, and staff are allowed an account, but access is managed locally (either school, department, center, or other unit). DiSC does not control or administer Qualtrics accounts or licenses.

To get an account, find the contact person for your unit at Qualtrics Administrators (ITS). 

Why Choose Qualtrics?


  • Very easy to get started and use
  • Surveys look nice, lots of customization (including CSS)
  • Can add special features with Javascript within questions
  • Follows best practices by default
  • Easy to implement advanced features including randomization, carry forward choices, and loop and merge


  • Does not natively support data entry or longitudinal studies, though data can be entered
  • Not available to everybody, some features have an extra cost
  • Data is stored on Qualtrics' server,

Learn Qualtrics

Learn Qualtrics in 1 hour

Selected Videos from XM basecamp series Platform Basics unless otherwise specified.
You will need to sign-in to your Qualtrics account in order to view the videos.

The Basics    
Qualtrics Basics (DoIT @ Stony Brook U) ~5 min Overview/Sections, Edit Multiple, Test Responses
Adding and Styling Questions ~5 min Text and Matrix Questions. Embedding Videos
Using Anonymous Distributions ~3 min Publish, Activate/Deactivate, get a Link, Options
Important Features    
Displaying and Hiding Questions and Answers ~4 min Blocks, Skip Logic, Display Logic, Preview
Controlling Questions and Answer Choices ~4 min Force Response, Validation, Messages, Randomization
Locating and Editing Responses ~8 min Responses in Progress, Retake surveys, and more
Managing Results Pages ~5 min Results, Filters, Widgets, Exporting
Visualizing Data ~2 min Widgets, Chart Types, Customizing Visualizations
Useful to Know About    
Handling Longer Surveys ~4 min Carry Forward, Loop & Merge
Using the Survey Flow to Navigate Participants ~4 min Blocks: Logic and Randomization
Adding Global Styles  ~3 min Themes, Progress bars, Fonts
Setting Text and Answer Choices ~4 min Piped Text, Page Break, Default Choices
Recoding Values ~2 min ("variable names" become value labels for SPSS files)
Sending Invites via Email ~4 min see also Creating and Managing Contacts

Tips from DiSC

Get Help

Help from Qualtrics

Special Features

Other Tutorials