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SOCNET  February 2009

SOCNET February 2009

Subject:

Re: Online survey tools for collecting SNA data

From:

Andreas Søyland <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Andreas Søyland <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 16 Feb 2009 17:32:43 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (77 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Hi Craig,

I actually did quite an extensive, similar search not long ago in
connection with the MOSCITO project ( http://www.moscito.no/ ).
Unfortunately I have to say that there aren't any really good
solutions out there. A few may be usable, depending on your research,
but none were both as functional and adaptable as we had hoped to
find.

Besides general survey solutions such as those already suggested, I
found only two designed for social network research: Network Genie (
https://secure.networkgenie.com/ ) and ONAsurveys (
http://onasurveys.com/ ). Of these, NG seemed primarily oriented
towards ego network studies, ONA could only be used for full network
studies (+snowball), while both put significant constraints on how you
may design and deploy your survey (i.e. no customizable code etc.).

Both tools let you create and deploy surveys for free, but you will
have to pay for access to the data, which is available in formats
suitable for a few of the most common SNA tools (NG: UCINET, InFlow,
MultiNet, NEGOPY;  ONA: Netdraw/UCINet, Inflow, Excel). Price
unspecified for NG (IIRC) and $40/$350 a month/year for ONA (if
edu/research).

Rather than going through all the details in terms of functionality
for each of these, I suggest you read up on their web pages. I'll just
mention that we quickly abandoned the idea of NG, as it seemed
somewhat "orphaned", albeit with interesting possibilities in terms of
nested subgroups.

Presently we are about to deploy a series of surveys using ONAsurveys,
which at least is supported and sees the occasional improvement. It
has quite a few useful solutions, e.g. ability to clone surveys,
revision control, good overview over respondent status, a choice
between person centric and question centric layout, 3 languages
(english, dutch and danish), but also some striking inconveniences,
such as no multiuser collaboration, a rather slow and clunky
interface, almost no control over many aspects of the survey design,
poor use of screen real estate, no multiple choice answers(!), etc.
etc.

All in all, it seems to work well enough if you are willing to
compromise your ideals here and there, but you do long for more
control.

I have not seen any publications mentioning either btw.


best regards & best of luck

-Andreas

-- 
Andreas S°yland

Master of Science in Communications Technology
PhD student @ Studio Apertura, NTNU Social Research Ltd.
[log in to unmask]
(+47) 95 802 803 / 73 596 329

On Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 11:31 AM, Craig Shepherd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> Does anyone have experience of using online survey packages to collect SNA data?  If so, which software would you recommend, are there specific limitations/benefits of the packages you have used, and what were the costs involved?
>
> Thanks in advance for your help & advice,
>
> Craig
>

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