The Social Student

Many academics craft surveys. You, too, will face a survey research assignment, whether as an undergrad enrolled in a research class or as a graduate student. And if you move on to a professorial position, survey research will strike you as vital as oxygen. So, get good at surveys now!

But are you stumped for how to send out your survey? Well, try using social media. With social media, you can make a full research survey campaign?with the help of monkeys and chimps. No, just kidding. Seriously, you can make your campaign with love from Facebook?and from MailChimp and SurveyMonkey. Best of all, Facebook and MailChimp are mostly free.

But does the thought of an online survey feel as frightening as being reborn in the body of Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield? Well, don’t fear: if Chris can send social media from outer-space, surely you can send surveys from Facebook.

If you’re tech shy, use only SurveyMonkey for your research. To send surveys, you’ll first need to create one in SurveyMonkey. If you have more than ten questions (or need more than a hundred respondents), you’ll pay over thirty dollars a month for SurveyMonkey. Ouch! Plus, you’ll pay more for SurveyMonkey to send-out your surveys?at roughly a dollar per respondent. Of course, if you’ve got a nice research grant, the costs won’t stop you.

But, if you’re cost sensitive, use a mix of SurveyMonkey, MailChimp, and Facebook. Maybe you want to avoid paying a buck for every respondent. Here’s how you do that:

– First set up a Page on Facebook.
– Next, go to MailChimp and sign up for a free account.
– Then, in that MailChimp account, create an email sign-up form.
– Still in MailChimp, integrate that email sign-up form onto Facebook. (MailChimp has a Facebook integration option.)
– Give your form a title like “Sign up for my research.” A tab will then appear on the left-hand side of your Facebook Page?with your title. When the user clicks on the tab?your email sign-up form appears.
– After users fill out your form, email them each a link to your survey. SurveyMonkey provides this link.

Alternatively, use Facebook Leads Ads to feature a sign-up form. If integrating a SurveyMonkey email log-in form into Facebook sounds about as easy as repairing a space station, don’t fret. You can also build an email sign-up form directly in Facebook through a Leads Ad. To explain, if you want to capture the emails of people interested in participating in your research, let Facebook create and advertise a sign-up form for you. Once people sign up through your form, you can download a comma separated values (CSV) list of their emails.

But, you’ll eventually want to take your CSV list of emails and load them in SurveyMonkey. So, either way, that monkey will attack you?yes, another technology to learn. But, it’s a free monkey?at least for less than a hundred respondents and less than ten survey questions. Once you exceed those numbers, the SurveyMonkey will fidget through your wallet with a diabolical plot—to buy-out Bulk Barn’s supplier of organic bananas. Tame that beast.

So, make monkeys, chimps, and Facebook build you a successful research study. If screwing nails into a dislodged space-station door sounds less frightening, then you have the most to gain with conducting online surveys.

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