Survey software + Tinderbox


(Adrian) #1

I am interested in using Tinderbox in conjunction with a survey software via DEVONthink in the case of qualitative research. Can anybody recommend me such a specific survey software? In particular, I found to my astonishment that in most survey software it is not possible for a respondent to write a longer text as an answer. I’d very much like to have that functionality too, if at all possible.
But any experience of a survey software feeding into DEVONthink and then further on into Tinderbox would be welcome.

Many thanks


(Paul Walters) #2

This is a rather broad query.

Could you explain more about the sort of research you intend to use the software for? “Survey software” can mean numerous things – from market research, to demographic questionnaires, to interview sources for quantitative data analysis (QDA), or simply a SurveyMonkey survey.

It would help if we knew more about your intent, methods, and expected results. Are you writing a paper, a dissertation, articles for scientific journals, a book – or merely interested in your personal research?


(Adrian) #3

Thank you, Paul, for your answer. I intend to write a paper on intellectual theft by colleagues at universities. The subjects of the questionnaire would be traumatised victims of such theft. I expect that at least some answers would be free-style long texts.


(Paul Walters) #4

For a survey questionnaire, I have used SurveyMonkey, and LimeSurvey. For my purposes, LimeSurvey has a good feature set. Your institution might already have a hosted SaaS instance of Lime, or you can purchase that from Lime directly. Or, if you have a server, you can host Lime yourself.

If you are collecting long texts, you could consider inviting your respondents to attach their own files to the survey, which is possible with Lime.


(Adrian) #5

Many thanks, Paul, for recommending me LimeSurvey. Have you ever transfered your LimeSurvey results into DEVONthink to be analysed further on in Tinderbox?


(Paul Walters) #6

I’m not clear what you are doing in DEVONthink vs what you are doing in Tinderbox, so it’s not an easy question. Results can be exported in various formats from LimeSurvey – Word, Excel, CSV, PDF, SPSS, XML – and of course one can do multiple exports in multiple formats. If you are going to be working mainly in Tinderbox, you might want CSV which can, when properly formatted**, be imported as multiple notes into Tinderbox.

Recall that survey response records usually comprise demographic information about the respondent, metadata about the survey, and boolean, multiple choice, or freeform textual data. Tinderbox is a very good tool for working with records with such content. IMO, DEVONthink is particularly bad for that kind of analysis since it knows nothing, and cannot learn anything about most of the metadata in a survey response record. I’ve used DEVONthink as a repository for survey records, just to have a place to stuff them, but I usually go straight from export to Tinderbox, with some data cleanup in between as needed.**

IMO, with respect, don’t get lost in trying to align survey instrument <-> export <-> DEVONthink <-> Tinderbox. “Just because you can” is not a good reason for trying to use all the tools one owns.


**Not all CSV exports are created equally, and Tinderbox chokes on many of them. So, as recently discussed here, export to Excel, clean up the data, then copy the data range from Excel into Tinderbox.


(Adrian) #7

Thank you, Paul, much appreciated.


(Andreas Grimm) #8

A superb video-tutorial, although already 8 years old, remains this one, which facilitates Tinderbox as just the appropriate tool for what you might be trying to achieve?


(Adrian) #9

Dear Andreas, I knew this video, it is indeed very helpful and cannot be recommended and watched enough. I saw it again, and observed the interesting structure of those thoughts. Many thanks, for suggesting to me to watch this video afresh.