'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.

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.

Here are my picks for The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys:

Of course, Google Forms has to be a top choice, but there are plenty more options!

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 — CrowdSignal. 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.)

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.

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

Poll Deep looks like it has potential…

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

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.

Pollsify is a new online polling tool.  It’s in beta now, and says that everything is free – for now.  It’s unclear how long, however, it will remain that way.

SurveyHero lets you create online surveys for free.

MetaSurvey uses what I think is an unfortunate way to describe itself (“build Tinder-style surveys”).  But it does look interesting.

PickVote seems like a pretty easy way to take a poll.

As always, feedback is welcome.

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