'Quora in 20 minutes' photo (c) 2011, Nicholas Wang - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’m planning to involve readers more in ranking sites for some of my year-end “The Best…” lists, and so thought I would investigate various web applications that allow you to create online polls and surveys. I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for that would work for my purposes but, at the same time, I was able to identify a number of sites that would work great for most teacher or student surveys/polls.

I have students create polls/surveys that they generally do face-to-face, but I expect that they will be making ones that could be used in our international Sister Classes Project — and those would have to be done online. In addition, our mainstream ninth grade English classes might be creating some online polls, too.

The criteria I used in to determine if a site would make this list included that it was:

* accessible to English Language Learners and/or people who are not very computer savvy.

* free-of-charge.

* difficult, if not impossible, to access polls that other users of the site might have made (to minimize the chance of finding inappropriate content for the classroom).

* able to be embedded in a blog or website.

* pretty flexible on restrictions about the number of polls created or the number of people responding to them.

Some, though not all, of the sites that made this list also allow people responding to the poll to provide multiple answers to one question, which was a key criteria in the kind of survey tool I was originally looking to use for engaging readers in helping rank sites in some of my “The Best…” lists. However, none of those had one other key element I needed — the ability to restrict voters from the same IP address. It looks like I’m going to have to pay in order to get that ability, which is not one that the vast majority of teachers or students will need in online polls/surveys they create. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if some site-owners would try to vote multiple times in my reader polls if given a chance, so I would like to make doing that at least a little more difficult.

I’d be interested in hearing people’s suggestions about which “for pay” service would be the best for that purpose.

But, for now, here are my picks for The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys:

With Micro Poll, you can ask multiple questions, and people taking the poll can provide multiple answers. You do have to register, but it’s easy to do so.

(Editor’s Note: I’m adding one more online poll/survey application to this list — PollDaddy. Not only is it easy, and has a lot of features the other sites on my list have, it also is one of the few that has a security feature to prevent multiple voting.)

Yarp is a new web tool that very,very easily lets you create a simple online invitation or survey. I’m particularly interested in the survey aspect, and I’m adding it to this list. It has a lot of benefits:  no registration is required; you can quickly type a question in and choosed various responses (a or b; true or false, yes or no); and those who respond can also write their own comments. This is a stand-out application for English Language Learners who want to use a simple survey for an in-class project or, even better, with sister classes in other places.  It provides wonderful and accessible opportunities for reading and writing.

Doodle is another addition. Registration isn’t required, and it’s extremely easy to create a poll that can be embedded in a blog or website or be accessed via its url address.  Participants can leave comments, too. It appears to have been set-up primarily to organize group events, but it can be used as a poll for just about anything. The Make Use of blog has an extensive explanation of how it works, though it’s pretty darn simple.

Obsurvey is a very flexible and easy web application for making online polls/surveys.

The Answer Garden is an intriguing combination of a survey tool and a word cloud generator. Without requiring any registration, it lets you pose a question to which people can write their own short answers. The answers appear as a word cloud below the question, with the words changing in size based on how often they are used in responses. Responders have the option of writing in their own answer or clicking on one of the words already in the word cloud. The entire “garden” can be embedded in a blog or website, and you can also link to it. The fact that anybody can answer anything to the question without identifying themselves makes it problematic — to say the least — in many school settings. But in certain mature situations, it could be very useful.

SurveyMapper is a tool to create simple surveys. It’s unique twist, though, is that it also shows you a map (of U.S. states or countries in the world) of where the people who answered the question live. Just because it gets “points” for being creative in a crowded field, I’m adding it to this list.

I’m not very impressed with the features that are available for free from Survey Monkey, but that’s the service I use when I have a poll on this site. I need to pay a few bucks, but it makes things easy if you are doing a larger poll.

Kwik Surveys is a new online survey tool.

Zoho has unveiled a nice new survey tool called…Zoho Survey. The free version includes unlimited surveys and up to 15 questions and 150 responses per survey. You can read more about it at TechCrunch. Here’s a video about it:

SurveyRock

SoGoSurvey

Riddle looks like an exceptional site that you can use for creating a survey or a quiz.

Poll Deep looks like it has potential…

Use “Opinion Stage” To Create Tests, Polls & Lists

Thanks to reader Fred Armstrong, I learned about Votesy, a free and simple survey tool that lets you ask one text, image or video-based question.

Get Acquainted is a very intriguing online survey tool that creates “conversational polls.” I’d encourage you to read Richard Byrne’s post and watch his video about it.

It really does seem super-easy to use, and the polls are embeddable.

As always, feedback is welcome.

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