New research platform lets surveys go mobile


Daryl Pinkal, head of product development of the research platform Qualtrics, says a researcher has just one shot when attempting to get respondents to take a survey.

survey
Seven in 10 students use three or more mobile devices a day.

This may be particularly true for one of the platform’s most important groups of respondents: college students.

“If that shot doesn’t work, they’re not likely to come back,” Pinkal said. “It’s imperative that you get this group’s attention right away and keep it.”

Qualtrics, which is used by researchers, graduate students, and administrators at 1,300 academic institutions across the world, is hoping their new platform will do just that. The company on Aug. 28 rolled out Qualtrics Mobile, a new suite of survey applications designed around mobile devices.

Nearly 70 percent of students say they use three or more mobile devices a day and close to half say they check these devices every 10 minutes, according to a study released in May by CourseSmart.

And Pinkal said as much as 40 percent of responses to Qualtric surveys come from mobile devices.

“Typically our customers would send an email or put a link on a site to a survey, even when they really want to take it out in the field,” he said. “What Qualtrics Mobile allows them to do is ensure that the survey is accessible across all platforms from tablet to small phone to desktop.”

See Page 2 for details about some of the platform’s new features.

The platform lets that same survey be downloaded to a device and then filled out offline. Professors doing research in remote villages where there is not internet connection can use the same survey there as they are using where online access is possible.

It also optimizes the design and functions of the surveys to fit best with whatever mobile device the respondent is using.

As online surveys have traditionally been designed for desktop internet browsers, Pinkal said, they’re often frustrating to fill out on mobile devices which can differ in screen size and interface.

Qualtrics Mobile’s ability to recognize disparate devices can be used to produce data as well as collect it, targeting specific devices and segmenting the research by type of device.

This allows researchers to compare data between different types of users.

“Across the U.S, there’s almost ubiquity in smart phone adoption among universities, so obviously being able to target students on mobile devices is absolutely critical,” Pinkal said.

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