Surveys are an important method for data collection. Whether it is for conducting internal assessments, gathering feedback, or collecting valuable research data, a reliable survey tool is an integral piece in the methodological toolkit of any researcher. Using different survey tools for different projects leads to differences in the quality of data collection and unnecessary licensing costs. In order to find a more sustainable solution, the Methods Lab assessed some of the most popular survey tools with the aim of finding the ideal one to cater to the specific needs of the Weizenbaum Institute’s research groups and administrative departments. Important to us was to select a user-friendly, open-source survey tool suitable for research that can be hosted on our own servers.
In this blog post, we introduce our choice: LimeSurvey. It is a free, open-source survey software with a strong commitment to data protection. It offers a versatile platform for data collection, making it ideal for researchers, academic institutions, and organizations of all sizes. In doing so, we hope that the insights from our survey tool comparison will prove useful to researchers and institutions beyond our own.
Here are some of the distinctive advantages that we were able to identify, making LimeSurvey a compelling choice for research and data collection:
- Cost-Effective and Open Source: LimeSurvey is open source, meaning, it is available for free when hosted on your own servers, thereby eliminating the need for costly licensing fees.
- Data Protection: LimeSurvey prioritizes data privacy – a particular advantage appreciated by our IT department due to its compliance with the GDPR. Its servers are strategically located in Germany and Finland, ensuring adherence to stringent European data protection regulations.
- User-Friendly Integration: LimeSurvey seamlessly integrates with existing user accounts, simplifying the onboarding process without requiring additional account setup.
- Suitable for Research: LimeSurvey is designed with research needs in mind. It offers a wide range of features, including unlimited projects and administrators/accounts. This flexibility makes it suitable for both simple and complex research projects.
- No Artificial Limits: LimeSurvey imposes no artificial limitations on user accounts, participants, or projects.