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Evans, J. R. and Mathur, A. (2005) The value of online surveys, Internet Research, 15, 2, 195- 219.
An examination of the involvement in online surveys of the largest US-based and global market research firms. Provides an extensive list of the services offered as of late 2004.
The WebSM searchable database
http://www.websm.org/index.php ?fl=0&p1=1123 &p2=82&p3=1086 &id=1086
Database of online questionnaire software and services which has entries categorised by type, code, cost, language and country.
The Association for Survey Computing searchable software
Searchable register which includes information about the software it contains such as listings of the features offered and suppliers.
Web-based survey software
Directory of software which can be browsed or accessed using the 'software finder' which allows users to specify the features they require.
The following examples are chosen as being representative of some of the different types of services available as of December 2005. In each case, a range of comparable options may be available.
Bristol Online Surveys
Targeted at institutions requiring the option to have a number of different surveys and survey administrators. Highly customisable to the style needs of institutions including an option to run surveys on their server with an address that appears to be that of the institution.
Provides 'EFS Survey' software which offers relatively advanced features and a high degree of flexibility. Also makes the software available to academic researchers for a nominal fee through unipark providing excellent value for these users where advanced functionality is required.
http://www.surveyconsole.com/ / http://www.questionpro.com/
Both are divisions of the surveyanalytics company and they use the same software and interface, but with different pricing. May offer sponsored use for academic or not-for-profit projects if certain conditions are met. Also offer a range of free resources such as articles and question templates.
Compares well with many of the other available services in terms of features, but is one of the cheapest commercial options.
Relatively expensive, but unusual in that charges are not made per period of use, but per completed survey and email invitation with a minimum of 200.
A range of relatively sophisticated features. targeted at individual researchers or at institutions. Offers academic pricing and free use for academic projects if certain conditions are met. Also has a range of resources such as articles on online questionnaires and copyable templates of questionnaires and questions.
Relatively expensive, but with a wide range of features. Offers both hosting and software only solutions.
Offers pricing for not-for-profit and educational institutions. Also offers a range of research services such as questionnaire administration, panel services and translation.
The following are some examples of commercial software for online questionnaires. A range of other options are available.
Shareware tool from Bebosoft which can be downloaded for Mac as well as windows. Relatively inexpensive and straightforward to use with clear and extensive documentation and tutorials.
An educational assessment tool which offers many of the key features needed to create basic online questionnaires and has some of the more advanced features such as randomisation of questions and conditional branching. Potentially useful option if the software is available through the researcher's institution.
Relatively inexpensive. Offers 'classic' and 'advanced' versions with different levels of features at different prices. Has a working online demo and a useful example survey which includes comments on the features illustrated by particular questions. Offers a free installation service and free technical support.
Extensive options for mixed-mode surveys, offering a 'core product', Snap Professional, with add-ons for questionnaires via internet and PDAs, and to allow scanning and multiple data entry. Expensive example of 'high-end' options.
The online questionnaire software does not include analysis tools, but it can be purchased alongside the statistics tools offered. Has basic statistical tools or an advanced version allowing multivariate statistical techniques. Technical support and updates are available free for three months, but are chargeable via annual support/maintenance agreements thereafter. A fully-functional version of the software can be downloaded and used for free, limited to 35 respondents for each survey. Download includes tutorials and extensive user guide.
Searchable repository of open source projects.
Listing of new software releases.
OSS Watch: Top Tips For Selecting Open Source Software
Page from the website of OSS, a JISC-funded open source advisory service. Offers guidance on selecting open source software.
The following are some of the main examples of open source software for online questionnaires (generally the more established and/or sophisticated options). A range of other options may be available.
Designed as a tool for running questionnaires as part of longitudinal studies. Allows respondents' responses to be matched to responses to previous questionnaires while maintaining confidentiality. In early stages of development at the time of writing.
Well-established software with a working demo available allowing the features and user-interface to be tested.
A range of relatively sophisticated features. Well-established with useful documentation. Working demos are available allowing the features and user-interface to be tested. Offers low cost hosted services.
Well-established with sophisticated features such as dynamic content generation depending on previous answers. Requires the user to learn to use XML syntax particular to the software.
Easy to use and particularly useful for straightforward questionnaires as only the four main types of questions are supported (Multiple choice with radio buttons and Check boxes, and short and long text entry boxes).
Getting started with HTML
A good basic introduction to HTML from the World Wide Web Consortium. (W3C).
A range of short tutorials designed to help you with specific aspects of web design.
List of HTML tags organised by their function, from W3Schools.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML Validator
Enter a link to your web pages or upload a local file to check that your HTML meets web standards and guidelines.
Automatically cleans up HTML to correct any problems caused either by mistakes or automatic production of invalid HTML by web editors.
WC3 Links Checker
Automatically checks for broken links in an HTML document.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
An introduction to Cascading Style Sheets from W3C.
A reference to the properties and possible values that can be applied to different elements of an HTML page from W3Schools. Also offers further information on the use of different properties.
W3Schools CSS Tutorial
Tutorials which include examples and quizzes.
The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C)'s CSS page
Offers a wealth of information on CSS.
W3C CSS Validator
Makes it possible to check that your CSS meets web standards and guidelines by entering a link to your CSS file, uploading your file from your computer, or pasting your CSS into a text box on the page.
Writing Efficient CSS
A useful article by John Gallant and Holly Bergevin on using CSS 'short hand' properties to reduce the size of CSS files and increase efficiency.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines (WAI)
Document which explains how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities. Includes checkpoints of actions that will improve accessibility and gives each checkpoint a priority rating according to its importance. Also has links to explanations of how the checkpoints can be achieved with HTML and CSS.
A service which simulates the appearance of pages to users with different forms of colour blindness to allow pages to be tested for suitability for colour-blind users.
DEMOS Project - Guide to accessible web pages: User control
A guide to making changes to the display of web pages in different browsers.
A Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)-funded advisory service on accessibility issues in education. Contains useful resources and 'how to' guides on accessibility.
Macromedia (now Adobe)'s Accessibility Resource Center
Offers general guides to accessibility and accessible design as well as specific guidance on how to increase the accessibility of HTML and multi-media produced with Macromedia products such as Dreamweaver and Flash.
Usability news: Wichita State University Software Usability
Newsletter providing a range of articles with information on research into software and website design and usability.
Usable Information Technology
Leading site on usability and user studies by Jacob Neilson.
Offers tables of web-safe colours organised by either hue (colour) or value (lightness). Makes it easier to design appropriate colour schemes.
W3C Browser information
Information on the main browsers available at the time of writing is available on the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) website along with statistics on the usage levels of each (though it should be noted that the statistics are based on users of the site and should thus be generally considered to be skewed in favour of more technically proficient users).
MOOCK Flash Player Inspector
Provides a good explanation of Flash detection (and its limitations) along with free scripts to carry it out.
Depending on the technology used, the following links may provide a useful source of information, tutorials and examples on how to add server-side validation.
Common Form Validations
A PHP tutorial which covers a range of different validation activities, leading to an example of a complete form validated via PHP.
Coggeshall, J. (2005) PHP Unleashed.
Chapter 4: Working with Forms in PHP.
Chapter 5: Advanced Form Techniques.
Sklar, C. (2004) Learning PHP.
Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Chapter 6: Making web forms.
Sklar, D. and Trachtenberg, A. (2003)
PHP Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Chapter 9: Forms.
Zandstra , M. (2005) Teach Yourself
PHP in 24 Hours, 2nd Edition. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Chapter 9: Working with Forms (available as a sample chapter)
Microsoft's ASP.NET framework offers a number of ready-made web controls designed to carry out server-side and, where available, client-side validation of web forms. These include controls that check required fields have been completed, that check that data in particular ranges or patterns has been entered (e.g. in the format of a telephone or credit-card number), and that compare data from one form element for consistency with that from another.
ASP.NET Quickstart tutorials: Validating Form Input
http://www.asp.net/ QuickStart/aspnet/ doc/validation/default.aspx
A useful tutorial on how these controls work with code examples.
Form Validation with ASP.NET - It Doesn't Get Any
Another step-by-step guide.
Mitchell, S. (2003) Teach yourself
ASP.NET. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Chapter 12. Validating User Input with Validation Controls.
Walther, S. (2003) ASP.NET. Unleashed.
Chapter 2: Building Forms with Web Server Controls.
Chapter 3: Performing Form Validation with Validation Controls.
Form Validation with Perl/CGI
http://www.elated.com/ tutorials/ programming/ perl_cgi/ form_validation/
An introductory tutorial for adding validation using PERL/CGI.
Colburn, R. (2003) Teach yourself CGI.
Chapter 7: Validating user input.
Guelich, S., Gundavaram, S. and Birznieks, G.
(2000) CGI Programming with Perl. Sebastapol, CA.
Chapter 4: Forms and CGI;
Chapter 8: Security (available as a sample chapter).
http://www.oreilly.com/ catalog/ cgi2/ toc.html
A good source of information is through the websites of key publishers in the field of web development. These include the following publishers:
These sites offer facilities to search for titles related to particular technologies and also offer sample chapters and articles. They also offer access to Safari Bookshelf, which is one of the most convenient access points for books on these technologies online. It offers searchable access to the titles of these and other key publishers in the field for viewing onscreen or for downloading.
Other publishers which are not included in Safari Bookshop offer similar searchable websites and online access to their catalogues, e.g:
Provides information and tutorials on a range of server-side technologies including ASP, PHP, SQL, and ASP.NET.
General web-design resource. The programming section of the 'How-to library' includes tutorials on ASP, PHP, ColdFusion, and Perl/CGI
Coggeshall, J. (2005) PHP Unleashed. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Kent, A. and Powers, D. (2004) PHP Web development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. Berkeley, CA. Apress.
Naramore, E., Gerner, J., Le Scouarnec, Y., Stolz, J. and Glass, M. K. (2005) Beginning PHP5, Apache, and MySQL Web Development. Indianapolis. WROX.
Sklar, D. (2004) Learning PHP. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Sklar, D. and Trachtenberg, A. (2003) PHP Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Ullman, L. (2005) PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites. Berkeley, CA. Peachpit Press.
Welling, L. and Thomson, L. (2004) PHP and MySQL Web Development. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Zandstra , M. (2005) Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours, 2nd Edition. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Offers a wide range of reources on PHP and MySQL including tutorials
An introduction to PHP from the official website which includes a very useful introductory tutorial.
A series of tutorials on how to use PHP and MySQL to create and administer databases.
The resources below refer to ASP.NET which has been designed to supercede ASP. However, at the time of writing ASP remains a commonly-used server-side technology and a wide range of resources are available offering information and tutorials in its use.
Duthie, G. A. and MacDonald, M. (2003) ASP.NET in a Nutshell. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Hart, C., Kauffman, J., Sussman, D. and Ullman, C. (2005) Beginning ASP.NET 2.0. Indianapolis. WROX.
Kittel, M. A. and LeBlond, G. T. (2004) ASP.NET Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Martinez, J. and Parnell, R. (2003) ASP.NET Development with Dreamweaver MX. Berkeley, CA. Peachpit Press.
Mitchell, S. (2003) Teach yourself ASP.NET. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Walther, S. (2003) ASP.NET. Unleashed. Indianapolis. SAMS.
ASP.NET Quickstart Tutorial
http://www.asp.net/ QuickStart/aspnet/ Default.aspx
Detailed tutorials on using ASP.NET including information on how ASP.NET controls are used with code examples.
4 Guys from Rolla
Searchable resource with articles and tutorials on specific aspects of ASP.NET.
Colburn, R. (2003) Teach yourself CGI. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Guelich, S., Gundavaram, S. and Birznieks, G. (2000) CGI Programming with Perl. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
CGI Programming 101
Tutorials aimed at beginners with information on how to set up a development environment using CGI/PERL and how to process forms and write data to files.
CGI Made Really Easy - or, Writing CGI scripts
to process Web forms
Basic introduction to collecting and formatting information from forms.
Tutorials covering a basic introduction to CGI programming with PERL along with issues such as validation and emailing.
Brooks-Bilson, R. (2003) Programming ColdFusion MX. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Camden, R., Chalnick, L., Buraglia, A. C. and Forta, B. (2005) Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7 Web Application Construction Kit. Berkeley, CA. Macromedia Press.
DeHaan, J. (2004) ColdFusion Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. Berkeley, CA. Apress.
Mohnike, C. (2003) Teach Yourself Macromedia ColdFusion in 21 Days. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Macromedia's Support Centre for ColdFusion -
http://www.macromedia.com/ support/coldfusion/ tutorial_index.html
A wide range of tutorials. Part of the ColdFusion Support Center which includes resources, technical notes and a forum.
A comprehensive range of ColdFusion tutorials.
Bergsten, H. (2003) JavaServer Pages, Third Edition. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Brunner, R. (2003) JSP: A Practical Guide for Programmers. San Fransisco, CA. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
Holzner, S. (2002) Teach Yourself JavaServer Pages in 21 Days. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Perry, B. W. (2004) Java Servlet & JSP Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Caucho JSP Tutorials
Covers topics including form processing and emailing form contents.
Series of tutorials covering the basics of JSP and dealing with forms processing, databases and emailing. States that users should have a knowledge of HTML and Java.