Survey software offers improved research

Spinnaker

The university has recently launched a new online survey platform called Enterprise Feedback Management Community to replace the existing WebSurveyor program.

EFM Community was designed to provide faculty and staff the ability to author questionnaires, post surveys, collect responses and disseminate findings, according to an ITS statement.

The preexisting software, WebSurveyor, was originally given to UNF through a grant. Once the company was bought out by Vovici, WebSurveyor was termed to discontinue its service in June 2009, said Alison Cruess Information Technology Services communications coordinator.

After WebSurveyor’s license expired in August 2007, the university organized a committee to choose
a replacement.

“EFM has been reviewed by the committee on campus, and our hope is that it will be easier to use and more functional than the previous tool,” said David Wilson, coordinator of Educational Media & Communications for the Center for Instruction and Research Technology.

EFM Community’s added functionality and ability to allow users to go more in-depth and completely customize their survey is in stark contrast to WebSurveyor, which was a very simple and static program, Cruess said.

“It’s more robust,” Cruess said. “For people who do a lot of in-depth research, it will provide them the functionality they need.”

WebSurveyor’s cross-communication and collaboration between researchers who jointly author surveys was severely limited. However, with the new software, collaboration and advanced reporting technology is a built-in function, Cruess said.

The office of Institutional Research recently completed a Physical Facilities survey using the EFM Community software, where 856 faculty and staff responded, Director Rick Powell said.

“Compared to WebSurveyor, it seems to be a lot easier to use and has a lot more functionality,” Powell said. “In one respect, being able to share surveys has been greatly improved.”

Powell also said his office will be conducting a survey on the religious climate of UNF, concerning how religious groups are utilized and the level, if any, of religious harassment, pending approval from UNF’s Institutional Research board.

ITS ran the pilot program in April to gauge the level of difficulty expected during the transition period. During the pilot, an upgrade was installed to increase usability.

E-mail James Cannon II at [email protected]