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Open source survey software is computer software that allows administrators to change the source coding or alter features in the process of creating and deploying cost-effective surveys — whether for businesses, institutions or individuals. Choosing the best open source survey software requires that the user look through the features list to see if the program has all the essential tools needed to make, design and implement a professional survey. The main tools required for survey programs include a design interface, question types, the ability to deploy the survey and the ability to save survey data.
While survey questions are the main aspect of a survey, administrators also should be able to design a visually appealing survey. This keeps survey takers from becoming bored, and allows the administrator to personalize surveys for the company and audience. Most open source survey software comes with intuitive design features, such as a drag-and-drop interface or a window that allows administrators to visualize how the survey will look when finished. Simpler design interfaces will be better for new administrators who are not as concerned with the design, while advanced interfaces will be better for those who are very picky about their survey design.
A survey is nothing more than a list of questions and, to make surveys easier, open source survey software has question types from which administrators can select. Question types include short answer, checkbox questions, multiple choice and true-or-false. A survey program that has more question types or allows administrators to write custom questions will likely be more useful.
When the survey has been created, the administrator will need to deploy it so people can answer questions and information can be obtained. Open source survey software offers two main ways to deploy a survey: via the Internet, or locally on computers that have the survey program. Internet-based deployment can be used on nearly any computer, while local deployment means the computer must have the survey software installed. A program that is able to accommodate both deployment methods will be more useful.
After people take the survey, the data must be collected so it can be read, analyzed and put to use. If the open source survey software has an interface that can instantly tally and organize all the survey information, this will make it easier for administrators to make reports and use the data. The ability to export the survey information to spreadsheet and database programs also will be useful, because this offers a long-term storage medium for the survey data.