How to create a paper-based survey

11 February, 2019

Using PaperSurvey.io platform you may easily create and manage your paper-based questionnaire.

The platform provides an end-to-end solution from creating to processing scanned documents and analyzing data.

This is a guide on how to use PaperSurvey.io software and to set up your survey. We are going to go through all the steps from the registration to data export.

Want to speed up survey creation? You may want to start from a template. Choose and customize a survey from our template library .

Table of Contents

  1. Register an account
  2. Create a survey
  3. Add questions to a survey
  4. Print paper survey
  5. Distribute
  6. Scan paper forms
  7. Upload & Process
  8. Verify responses
  9. Analyze results
  10. Export data

Register an account

You should first register a new account if you don't have an account already. You may try the service for 14 days, no credit card details required.

register

Create a survey

To create a new survey, click Create Survey in the upper-right corner in your dashboard and choose the survey name and language.

my surveys

Add questions to a survey

Now you may add questions to the survey. To add your first question click "Add your first question" and set the question type you want

add questions

Question types

At the time of writing this article, there were 9 question types available. You may download a sample survey to see how each question type looks like.

Below there are descriptions of all question types. question types

Multiple choice

This question type is suitable for questions where the respondent can pick more than one answer: medium


Single choice

This question type is suitable for questions where the respondent can pick only one answer: medium


Multiple choice (grid) / Single choice (grid)

This question type is very similar to Multiple choice/Single choice question type. However, the layout is different allowing to fit more questions.

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Short text answer

This question allows to write a text response (in a handwritten font):

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Long text answer

Similarly, as a short text answer, this question allows writing a longer text response. You may set the box height.

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Number

In the paper survey, the question looks exactly like a short text answer. However, this question type only recognizes numeric responses (e.g. if respondent types "my phone is 111-111-111", we will extract the numbers from the text and display: "111111111")


Heading

Headings allow to emphasize and separate blocks of questions


Description

Using this question type you may add some informational text on any part of the survey.


Layout settings

There are several layout settings available that allow customizing how the layout looks like. You may click on the "Settings" tab to customize how your survey looks like.

Two-column page layout

This is a default layout option allowing to create a questionnaire with two columns. This layout is more optimal as it allows to have more questions on one page, compared to the 1-column layout.

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Preview

Open "Preview" tab to instantly preview how your survey would look like. It may take several seconds to generate it.

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Once you have added all the questions you need and you are happy how the survey looks like, it is time to print it.

Depending on how many pages you have in the survey, one or two barcodes will be included in the footer of the survey.

If the survey has one-page, by default we will include one barcode on the right side allowing to easily identify which survey you are uploading.

If there are two or more pages, we will also include an additional barcode on the left side of the footer. This additional barcode ensures you are not uploading the same survey twice and allows you to do not care about the page order.

For instance, if you have a 3-page survey with 10 respondents, in total there will be 30 pages to scan. You may drop the sheets on the ground, shuffle upload it in any order and upload. We would still be able to match all pages in the correct order.

If you wish, you may enable the additional barcode to be included in one-page surveys in survey settings.

Distribute

This part is completely managed by you, so you may choose yourself how you are going to distribute and collect the responses.

Scan paper forms

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Once you have some responses collected you may scan them for recognition.

We advise making a few test scans to test the printer and scanner. Often there are problems with cheap printers where printers crop the bottom part of the survey.

If you don't have a scanner already or planning to upgrade, please take a look at out Best document scanners for paper-based surveys recognition guide.

Upload & Process

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After you have scanned the files, you may finally upload them.

We provide several ways to upload scanned documents:

  1. Upload - go to the website and select the files to upload.
  2. Email - send an email and it will be automatically processed.
  3. Zapier - connect other applications to papersurvey.io and streamline uploads
    • This allows optimizing the workflow in any way you want without needing to code:
      1. Send Gmail attachments to PaperSurvey.io for processing
      2. Do something when uploaded documents are recognized (e.g. to send data to your database)
  4. Google Drive & Dropbox integrations - (coming soon) upload scanned files to a selected folder and we will retrieve and process each file.
  5. Programmatic access (API) - (coming soon) develop custom integrations to interact and upload files to PaperSurvey.io from your CRM or app.

Verify responses

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In certain cases, checkboxes may not be recognized (very rarely). We will flag these responses for you to double-check and pick correct response.

Open response questions such as Long text answer and Short text answer are recognized automatically, but we ask you to double check if it was read correctly.

Analyze results

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Although, at the moment quite limited, you may able to see the basic statistics in word clouds and bar charts to analyze collected data.

We plan to add more ways to visualize the data. Right now we are focusing on implementing other major features. Please reach out to us if you like to see a different analysis method and we will try to add it.

Export Data

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The software allows exporting data to two most common formats for the additional data analysis:

  • CSV
  • SPSS (coming soon)

Currently, we do not have an option to export your uploaded files in bulk, but you can download the uploaded files, one by one.

Page last updated: 20 February, 2019

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