+44(0) 1494 435112 info@surveybe.com


Surveybe has been deployed on over and estimated 1 MILLION data collection instances.  So we have certainly encountered a broad variety of different scenarios.  Our comprehensive FAQ’s may help you in establishing how surveybe can be used for your work.
Why Surveybe?

What is Surveybe?

Surveybe is a powerful computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) software that gives you direct control of survey design, including routing and real time validation checks, ensuring your data is clean and analysis ready at the point of collection.

The software is well regarded amongst researchers for its ease of use, capacity to deal with complex questionnaires and higher quality data that it helps capture including the ability to collect paradata.


What does Surveybe offer that other CAPI programming software doesn’t?

Surveybe provides you with complete control over your survey instrument without the need for computer programming knowledge or incurring the costs of enlisting the services of software engineers. Furthermore, by having such flexibility, it means that you can devise, design and build as many different questionnaires as you like under one Designer licence.

Surveybe provides the researcher with the opportunity to:

  • set the data labels during the build phase of the questionnaire
  • enjoy the simplicity of our drag-and-drop interface. This really proves its worth when editing questionnaires – if you want to move, questions, screens or sections around you can do so simply by dragging with the mouse. It couldn’t be simpler!
  • use non-proprietary file formats for export of data and also for pre-loading data for reference and/or use in the questions, responses or validation checks.share questionnaires between Surveybe users – hopefully resulting in more efficiency between users and the chance to share best practice!
  • add single and multi-level rosters to your questionnaires. Surveybe rosters are in a matrix format which means you can see information for more than one item/individual on a screen. This makes navigation around rosters much easier. You can also pre-populate roster of any level with existing or new data.
  • choose which operating system you want to use to collect data. You have a choice between Windows, Android or Kindle fire devices. You can even use a combination of Operation Systems/tablets 1.
  • navigate freely within your questionnaire. The software does not dictate the flow of your survey; you determine routing through questionnaire design. This means that if a respondent is not available to answer a particular module, you can go to another module with a single click and come back to the initial module at a later stage.
  • design your questionnaires, collect data and transfer interview files without the need of an internet connection. This means you can design questionnaires on the go, collect data in remote parts of the world where there are no internet facilities and transfer interview files to headquarters using transfer methods such as USB sticks and Bluetooth. If you do have access to internet, you can of course use this mode to transfer your interview files to HQ.
  • have full control over the data you collect. We don’t access your data as we don’t store your interview files on a server. You are the only one who decides where to store your data; on your own/third party server(s) or on a local PC. All interview files remain encrypted during file transfer for security reasons.
  • deal with interview files that have already been sent to HQ but which still contain unresolved queries in an easy manner. Interviewers always have access to a copy of the interview file that was created on their tablet and therefore the files do not have to be transferred back from HQ to them.

Surveybe has been designed to cater for large scale socio-economic surveys, so you won’t have to sacrifice complexity for ease of use. Surveybe can also be used for smaller, simpler, more linear surveys so you can use Surveybe as a ‘one-stop’ solution for all your CAPI projects.

The Surveybe team also has a wealth of experience in designing and conducting CAPI surveys and our training and support services reflects this experience to the benefit of your research.

1 Some functionality variations exist for each operating system. Please check the Designer user manual for more details.


What’s the difference between Surveybe Designer and the Implementer?

The Surveybe software suite comprises of two elements: the Designer and the Implementer.

The Designer application is used to build, configure and update a questionnaire, including screen structure, questions (and question order), response lists, rosters, routing and validations. The Designer is also used to receive the collected data from the field in the form of completed interviewing files and then to export this data into the users chosen statistical analysis package.

Once a questionnaire has been fully completed in the Designer, it can be exported as a questionnaire file which interviewers upload to the Implementer application on their hardware.

The Implementer then displays the questionnaire as designed and permits the recording of responses and executes all of the routing and validations previously defined in the Designer. At the end of the interview, the interviewer saves the file and transfers to his/her supervisor using localised methods such as Bluetooth/USB sticks or connects to the internet in order to send to HQ (where the Designer is usually held).


What experience does Surveybe have of conducting CAPI surveys?

Surveybe has been used across the globe by numerous clients, currently it is in use in over 55 different countries worldwide on different continents and through multiple languages, however our ‘heartland’ is in East Africa where our sister company, EDI, is based. We have conducted tens of thousands of CAPI interviews, mainly LSMS style surveys but also those with asset management, health, agriculture and livestock focused questionnaires. This background and expertise is the driving force of Surveybe development; with the research defining the software rather than the other way around!


Who uses surveybe?

A whole host of people and organisations across a variety of sectors, from education to health, and agriculture to livestock use Surveybe. Surveybe is primarily targeted to researchers managing large scale data collection projects; whilst still being a sophisticated tool for smaller projects too. Specific examples of organisations whose projects have used Surveybe include: the World Bank, International Livestock Research Institute, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), International Food Policy Research Institute, University of Oxford, various Private Research Companies as well as several National Bureaus of Statistics.


What type of questionnaires is surveybe used for?

Our software was developed to meet the needs of the researcher and therefore flexibility is a key component. Surveybe is perfectly suited for complex, large scale multi-topic, longitudinal surveys or for conducting baseline studies and impact assessments. It is also being used for studies in Agriculture, Health, Economics, Child Development, and Livestock as well as for conducting national Consumer Price Index (CPI) studies.

The ability to handle complex instruments does not preclude use of Surveybe for more linear surveys; underwritten by having the confidence that if your project(s) evolve the software is ready to accommodate these changing needs and complexities.

Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) Methodology

What are the advantages of using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) over traditional PAPI methods?

Handling large volumes of data recorded on paper is fraught with problems, including delays caused by separate rekeying and data cleaning phases, costs of re-interviewing and the inability to assess your results in a timely fashion. Even with best practice, PAPI can compromise the accuracy of your data through the introduction of error whilst recording responses, routing through the questionnaire or during rekeying, all damaging the validity of your study.

CAPI methodology overcomes the quality and timing obstacles inherent in PAPI, while offering more advanced functionality via: automated skips/routing through questionnaires, built in complex data validations, and near real-time data monitoring by HQ.

Surveybe adds further benefits as you can easily share your surveys and questionnaires with other Surveybe users and re-use your own work across a range of projects. So time spent working on one project could be re-invested into another, similar project– saving lots of time and resources as a result.

Additionally, Surveybe also uses generic CSV file formats to enable the import and reference of external and previous wave data, to pre-populate your current questionnaire and provide a validation source to improve data accuracy, without having to re-enter this data into the survey.

Surveybe also allows you to have your data ready labelled at the point of collection, as the ‘label for export’ is set whilst configuring your questionnaire in the Designer application.


We interview in remote locations with intermittent electricity and/or internet access. Can we still field a CAPI survey?

Yes! Surveybe doesn’t require a live link to the internet to conduct interviews. You can continue to collect data and have it stored on the hardware until you are able to connect to the internet and transfer the data to HQ. If the power supply fails, then the interview files are saved and stored on the computer. Surveybe offers its clients the chance to access specific training courses which deal with field management practices and how to mitigate against power loss without having to delay the field work.


Do our interviewers need to have good computer skills to do a CAPI survey?

Interviewers do not need to be skilled computer users. A knowledge of using a mouse and keyboard or tablet will be helpful but even this is not essential, as training on how to complete the actual interview can be provided. The more important skill is that of being an effective interviewer – no interview method can ever fully replace this skill, and our experience shows that a skilled interviewer who embraces the benefit of Surveybe methods adjusts easily to the switch.


How does Surveybe support organisations with no or very little CAPI experience?

We provide a range of support, depending upon the specific requirements of your organisation. At the highest ‘institutional’ level we can provide training to support you with the shift from PAPI to CAPI. This is important because embracing CAPI brings undoubted benefits, but for these to be fully realised, the organisation should also embrace new practises and work flows to support the shift. We can provide training and advice on how to achieve this.

On an individual level we support clients through the use of self-help resources; including on-line videos, briefing documents and templates which can be accessed to help guide a new-user through the stages of working with Surveybe. Additionally all licence holders will be granted access to our user forum which will provide user-to-user help and advice for the benefit of all. The section below provides more information of the training services offered.


What coding/programming skills must I have to use surveybe?

You do not require any computer programming expertise or ‘coding’ experience to use Surveybe. In order to fully embrace some of the more advanced features of the software, some knowledge of SQL syntax is required. SQL is a logical, easily accessible and widely used database query language. We provide substantial guidance to start users off in the core SQL statements required in our manuals and through our user community. Further information and guidance is available on many other websites as well. Many of the most commonly used statements are covered in the Surveybe Designer Training course.

Surveybe Services and Training

What types of training does Surveybe offer?

Surveybe provides a broad range of training options for clients. The most popular course is the ‘Designer Training Course’ which is a two day introductory course into using the Surveybe Designer. This course runs regularly and has an option to extend into a third day which is a ‘tutorial’ session whereby Surveybe trainer(s) are on hand to help with your project specific questions.

Some courses are only relevant where we have a comprehensive engagement with a client and therefore we have tailored the training to the needs of that organisation.

For a list of training dates and availability for the courses please email: info@surveybe.com


If I don’t want to configure/build my survey myself, can you do it for me?

Yes, Surveybe offers a questionnaire configuration service. The timing and nature of this will depend to a large extent on the instrument and the specific needs of the client. We will work with you to ensure that the questionnaire is built to the required specification and provide you with the opportunity to desk test and field test the instrument to ensure that the questionnaire is as envisaged. Usually this service is utilised alongside some of our other ‘consultative’ provisions such as training and in-field support presence. Please email info@surveybe.com with your requirements and we can discuss the most appropriate approach for your project.


Can surveybe send someone to help me with the field work?

As stated in the question above we generally provide ‘consultative style’ assistance within an engagement that has been defined from the outset. We have had our team out in the field across the world from Guatemala to Kenya and Georgia to Nigeria. Ordinarily we would provide help with field work only on those projects where we have had involvement from the early stages and have knowledge of the instrument. This ensures that any field work involvement is relevant as we have an understanding of the project. Extraordinary instances do occur where we become involved at a later stage to help with the field work but we would need significant input from all parties to ensure that this adds value.


Do I get a manual with the surveybe Designer software?

Yes, you will receive a pdf version of our comprehensive Designer manual, which is a step-by-step guide on using Surveybe, illustrated with screen shots and commentary to ensure you feel confident with learning how to use the software. However, attending the ’Designer Training’ course provides face-to-face training which can never be replicated in a manual. The training course means you will generally become ‘trained’ much more quickly and can embed your learning as you can ask questions of the trainer.


Will I receive training on the surveybe Designer if I buy the software?

You will not receive formal training on the Designer unless you elect to attend one of our ‘Designer Training’ courses. You will receive a comprehensive ‘Designer manual’ which guides you step-by-step through building a questionnaire as well as having access to a plethora of resources in the client area of our website including: demonstration and training videos, FAQs, User forum, and briefing documents on a variety of topics.


Do I need any pre-requisite skills to use surveybe?

You do not require any computer programming expertise or ‘coding’ experience to start to use Surveybe Designer and to create your own electronic questionnaires. However, basic computer literacy and knowledge of questionnaire design is assumed as prerequisite knowledge to designing surveys. However, in order to fully embrace some of the more advanced features of the Designer software, some knowledge of SQL syntax is required. SQL is a logical, easily accessible and widely used database query language. We provide substantial guidance to start users off in the core SQL statements required in our manuals and through our user community. Further information and guidance is available on many other websites as well.

The Implementer, which is used by interviewers to conduct interviews, has been designed as accessible software for Interviewers, even those with no previous computer or CAPI knowledge. As with the introduction of any new technology, interviewers with little or no computer or CAPI experience will need to be trained to get up to speed on hardware use and care, conducting interviews using the software, and procedures for sharing data back to supervisors / HQ. The Surveybe team can assist with this training if needed.


Does surveybe have any plans for new products or services?

We continually develop our software in order to keep it at the forefront of survey data collection advancements. From time to time new versions of the core software will be released and existing licence holders can upgrade to the most recent version.

We advise you to use the same Designer and Implementer version across a project. If fieldwork has already started, you may choose to continue using the same version and upgrade when it’s convenient.


Software Licensing

How do I obtain an evaluation copy?

The easiest way is to link to our website (click here) and complete the registration box. You will then be directed to the ‘Software installers’ page where you can download and install Surveybe. When activated the licence remains active for 14 days, after which it becomes unusable until you purchase a full designer licence.


What does a Surveybe Designer licence entitle me to do?

A Surveybe Designer licence permits you to design, amend, export, share and handle unlimited questionnaires. These questionnaires can then be used with as many interviewers as you like through the Implementer application, which is included within your Designer licence.

The Designer further enables users to export their completed interview data (upon receipt from the field teams) into CSV files and subsequently into statistical analysis packages such as STATA and SPSS. It is the Designer that ‘decrypts’ the data from its secure encrypted format in the completed interview files during the import process. You can import and export unlimited volumes of data during the licence term. At the end of the licence term access to data held in the Designer database will be denied, so you will need to export all data beforehand.


How do I purchase a Surveybe Designer licence?

You can buy the Surveybe licence through our head office by emailing: info@surveybe.com . Please state how many licences you wish to purchase, what level of technical support you require (we have a 6 hour and 12 hour package) and details of any additional services you wish to engage us in. When payment is received you will be sent the appropriate licence details, links and activation keys via email. Upon receipt of these you simply follow the ‘installer’ wizard to install Surveybe onto your computer; and then you are ready to commence questionnaire design! Congratulations.


How much does a Surveybe Designer licence cost?

The cost of the Surveybe Freedom licence, for our ‘core software’ can be found on the Surveybe pricing page.  There are no hidden costs and our price reflects value for money for a quality product.

The Surveybe Freedom licence is an annual licence which can be renewed. The licence has no restriction on volume of use, data collected, questions and questionnaires asked etc. It provides the ‘freedom’ you need to conduct your research. If you don’t have a server, you can choose to store your data on a secure local device.


Can I transfer my licence / share my Designer software with colleagues?

Surveybe Freedom has been developed to make the sharing of questionnaires easy and so simple export of your designed instrument onto a USB stick or as an attachment to an email is readily available.

However the nature of the licence (i.e. the Designer) as a single installation onto one PC means anyone wishing to view/edit questionnaires of handle the import/export of data will require a Designer licence. If you require multiple users then you will need to take a multi-user licence option. These licences are annual licences so upon renewal you can switch to a different PC if required. Each licence will have its own expiry date depending upon when it was issued.

If you need to view the questionnaire, you can download the Implementer software on Windows or Android based devices. You will, however, not be able to edit any questions or questionnaire structure without a valid Designer licence.


How many interviewers am I allowed under a surveybe licence?

As many as you wish! Surveybe does not restrict the number of users of the Implementer software. Not only does this give you great flexibility within the field team it also means the Implementer is not licenced to one hardware unit. Therefore, if the hardware fails or gets lost, stolen or damaged then you do not lose that licence; simply load the Implementer onto the replacement (or spare) hardware unit and carry on!

Hardware Requirements for Surveybe Freedom Software

What hardware, operating system or other Software do I need to run the Surveybe Designer?

The Surveybe Designer can be run on any PC that has a Microsoft Windows (version XP or above) operating system plus a minimum of:

  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 2 GB free HD space for installation, allow up to 10GB for future data storage
  • Dual core processor 2.00 GHz

You also need to install the latest version of Java. Please note that Surveybe Freedom does operate very well on Windows 8 pro (the full version) but will not operate on Windows 8 RT.  It is also possible to run this on Apple Mac’s with conversion software.  Please contact support@surveybe.com for more information.


What hardware, operating system or other Software do I need to run the Surveybe Implementer?

The Surveybe Implementer can be run on any PC, laptop, netbook, tablet, phones (with touchscreen or not), that has a Microsoft Windows (version XP or above), Android or Fire OS operating system plus a minimum of:

  • 2Gb RAM
  • 40 Gb HDD
  • Processor of at least 1.6 Ghz. If the structure of your questionnaire is simple, you may opt for devices with a reduced processing power which should still be atleast least 1.3 Ghz. For complex questionnaires, we recommend 1.8 Ghz as a minimum.

Please note that Surveybe Freedom does operate very well on Windows 8 pro (the full version) but will not operate on Windows 8 RT.

Additionally depending upon your project you may need to consider ancillary equipment such as protective cases, spare batteries, etc. Our Client survey services team can advise on this.

If you’re planning to buy a substantial number of devices it might be worth trying to obtain an evaluation unit from your supplier so you can check that the performance meets your expectations, and that you’re happy with other aspects of the equipment, particularly the battery life.

Installing Surveybe Freedom Designer and Implementer

Are there any software requirements to install and run Surveybe?

Yes, the Surveybe Designer application requires Java to be installed on your PC before the Designer application installation can be run. Please note that Java is a freeware application and therefore you will not incur any additional costs.


How do I download the Surveybe Installation files?

Once you purchase the software, the Surveybe team will either provide you with a link to download the installers to your computer or a new activation key for your existing installer to convert to a full licence. You will receive an installation manual with instructions on how to successfully install your Surveybe software.


Do I download and then install? What’s the difference?

You will first download the installer file, saving it to an easy to find location on your PC. Then, double click on the installer to launch the installer ‘wizard’ which will guide you through the process. The difference between downloading and installing is that a download constitutes a file transfer whereas an installation is the whole process of unpacking and then loading of the software onto your computer.


Do I need to be connected to the Internet in order to install Surveybe?

Yes, an Internet connection is needed to:

  • Download the Surveybe Installer(s)
  • Download Java prior to the Surveybe installation process
  • Register and activate your license key
  • Verify the licence. Every 90 days your licence will request an on-line connection to verify the licence with the licence server. This process is simple and only takes a couple of minutes. If verification does not occur, they you may run the risk of getting your Designer locked down which means you won’t be able to access your interview data or export any questionnaire file.


Where on my computer should the Surveybe software be placed?

The installer wizard will automatically select a Program Files folder location and provide you with an option to select an alternative location if desired. If you choose an alternative location, we recommend that you choose a folder not subject to regular editing / deletion within your directory in order to reduce the risk of accidental tampering with the program files.


What if my internet connection is interrupted during the download / installation process?

If your internet connection is interrupted when downloading the Surveybe installers, you will need to re-establish a connection and then recommence the download / installation process. Depending upon the nature and timing of the interruptions you may be required to recommence the process from the start.


What do I have to do after surveybe is installed?

Once the software is installed you will be able to begin using the applications as normal. The first time you open the Surveybe Freedom Designer, you will be prompted to register your license key with Surveybe. This will activate your copy of the software.


What do I do if the license activation key does not work?

In the unlikely event that the licence activation key doesn’t work, we first request that you:

  • Double check the numbers entered (tip: best to copy and paste them in to avoid entry error).
  • Ensure you are not trying to re-use a previous key, as they are only valid for a single use.
  • Check that no extra spaces were added to the serial numbers, including at the beginning and end of the number, when copying/pasting into the licence key field

If the above is all in order then please contact us at: info@surveybe.com


How do I uninstall the software?

You can uninstall Surveybe by either using your system’s Control Panel Add/Remove Programs function or by using the Uninstaller script provided under C:/Program Files/Surveybe. There is an uninstaller file provided for both the Designer and Implementer under their respective folders.

NOTE: If you uninstall, then all of your survey instruments will be lost unless you first export the survey files from your Designer and back them up to a separate location.


How do I recover my surveybe software and licence if my computer is changed, damaged, lost or stolen?

You would have to do this via a support request to our team. Ultimately you will have to install Surveybe onto your new computer via a new licence file. Any survey, questionnaire or data files that were held by your computer will be lost unless you have created a back-up on an alternative source. We strongly recommend that you make copies of your files for these instances on a frequent and regular basis.

Getting Started with Your New Surveybe Freedom Software

What’s the difference between Surveybe Designer and the Implementer?

The Designer application is used to build and configure a questionnaire, including screen structure, questions, response lists, rosters, routing and validations. The Designer is then also used to make any subsequent changes to a questionnaire’s structure or content as well as to export collected data to Stata.

The Implementer application is used by interviewers to administer the questionnaire in the field. When a questionnaire has been created using the Designer it can be exported as a file. This file is then imported by the Implementer software which, in turn, uses the information in this file to display the questionnaire, record the responses and execute all of the routing and validations previously defined in the Designer. The questionnaire file is unique to each respondent and after completion can be sent back to the Designer to process for analysis.


I have the software and would like a tutorial on the key features and functionality. Where do I start?

To learn about the basic features and functionality of Surveybe and to get started building your first questionnaire, refer to the Designer User Manual provided with your software licence.

For a more interactive learning experience, please get in touch with us to join one of our Designer training courses. We can do a standard introductory course or a tailored course for the needs of your organisation. Additionally, you can sign on to the Surveybe User Forum, where you can post questions to other Surveybe users or review answers to previous topics.


What coding/programming skills must I have to use surveybe?

You do not require any computer programming expertise or ‘coding’ experience to start to use Surveybe and to create your own electronic questionnaires. In order to fully embrace some of the more advanced features of the software, some knowledge of SQL syntax is required.

SQL is a logical, easily accessible and widely used database query language. We provide substantial guidance to start users off in the core SQL statements required in our manuals and through our user community. Further information and guidance is available on many other websites as well.

Designing Surveys in Surveybe Freedom Designer

How do I start designing a questionnaire?

After the Surveybe installation wizard has guided you through the installation process you can launch the Designer software and begin creating as many questionnaires as you like. You can simply start by dragging the Questionnaire icon and giving it a name. Within a few minutes you are likely to have completed your first screen of questions.


How many questions can I include in a questionnaire?

As many as you’d like; there are no restrictions to the size of your questionnaire or the number of questions you can include.


How many screens or sub-screens can I build?

Theoretically, the software will allow you to include as many as you like, although, practically, there will be a limit reached through balancing the design of and ease of navigability within the instrument. Surveybe offers the ability to design the questionnaire in a user friendly way so that sub-screens act as a natural extension of the higher level screens, which is much easier than scrolling through screen after screen at the same level, or page after page on paper.


What languages are supported in surveybe?

Surveybe can support most languages and fonts, including those that read from right to left. We have already been working successfully with more complex character- and script-based languages such as Dhivehi (Maldives), Amharic (Ethiopia), and Georgian (Georgia). If you plan to work in a language which is not typically well supported by Windows operating system or most web-based tools, please do double check with us, however.


What type of responses can I collect?

There is a full range of response types available; from basic text or numeric answers to system generated time-stamps, radio buttons, tick boxes, matrix / rosters, audio barcode, GPS, computer answers, audio recording, multi-media and drop down lists of responses. Changing the format of a response list is also easy; a few clicks on the question’s properties tab will allow you to efficiently redefine questions and their response types.

The responses can be further refined in the question’s properties. For example, users can specify the valid range of responses (numeric values), so that if a response given is outside the permitted range, an error message will appear for the interviewer.


Can I set my own questionnaire routing (skip rules and enablement)?

Yes, this is a key feature of CAPI research, as the key to managing a successful and accurate data collection project is to ensure interviewers are easily routed through the applicable questions in the survey. With Surveybe, you can define when a particular question should be asked (enablement), as well as skip to other questions/sections based on the response(s) to a question. These are defined as part of a question’s properties and can be easily updated with additional / revised conditions as you configure your survey.


Can I set my own error/warning messages and interviewer instructions?

Yes. You can define the specific validations you’d like the software to implement dynamically at the point of data collection, as well as defining the text error message that will appear if those validations are triggered during the interview. Static interviewer instructions, key concept definitions and other text guidance throughout the survey is also configurable in the Designer so that you can ensure all questions and concepts are clearly explained for the interviewer without the need to refer to a separate manual or other paper based resources.


Can I include images and videos in questions?

Photos, mock-ups and other image files can be included in both questions and labels, giving flexibility for when you’d prefer an image only to dynamically apply to a particular question rather than displaying on an entire screen/section. Likewise, you can also use the camera of your tablet to capture live images during data collection. Video and audio files can be pre-recorded and embedded into questions as well – these can be played out during live interviews.


Does surveybe allow for dynamic text substitution (‘text piping’) in questions?

Surveybe allows for the dynamic population of parts of question and instruction/label text. For example, it is very easy to replace the traditional [Name] from paper based questionnaires with the actual name of any respondent as the interviewer is asking questions on sub-screens of a household roster, which helps guide interviewers and respondents as they complete questions on each household member.


How can I use previous round / panel data in my Surveybe survey?

Surveybe was designed to ensure that any previous data relating to the same unit of observation can be uploaded via CSV tables and referenced in the new surveybe facilitated round; even if the previous data was collected on paper (PAPI) and entered into an external database.

Previous IDs can be included as well to ensure smooth analysis between rounds of data collection.


Can I determine the variable names and data labels as part of the design of the survey?

Yes – This is a key feature of Surveybe. By setting the ‘label for export’ when defining a new question, you are effectively building statistical columns as you construct your questionnaire. This means that the data is ready to export into Stata or SPSS from the moment it has been collected. Remember, it is also ‘clean’ data that is being exported, as the routing and validations ensure the information is checked and validated at the point of collection. We advise you to check the number of characters allowed in ‘label for export’ in your analysis package.

Sharing Surveybe Questionnaires and Files with Team Members

What if I need to get feedback on my survey from team members who don’t have a Designer licence?

Anybody can install the Surveybe Implementer and view any questionnaire that you create. There is no charge for the Surveybe Implementer so you can get comments and input from all stakeholders without the need for purchasing additional licences.


How do I share the final questionnaire with my field teams?

One click in the Designer allows you to ‘Export Questionnaire’ on your PC, and then you simply send the resulting zip file via email, dropbox, FTP site, or transfer using a memory stick to the intended recipient. Supervisors and Interviewers can then simply import the file into their Surveybe Implementer and start collecting data.


Can I edit the questionnaire once I have exported it?

Once you have exported the questionnaire, you can still edit it in the Designer application. This is particularly useful if you have a project pilot phase and changes are requested prior to live fieldwork. When the amendments are completed, simply export the questionnaire again, share with field teams, and the interviewers can then import the new questionnaire file into their Implementers to continue with the revised edition of the questionnaire without affecting the data you have already collected.


Can I use a survey that somebody else has created as a starting point/template for my own?

Yes, anybody with Surveybe Designer Licence can import a ‘questionnaire’ into their Designer, so you and other Designers can share your created questionnaires with anyone you please.

We encourage sharing of questionnaires across users through our user forum, as this is the best way to share expertise across organizations, survey topics and types of questions/answers. Please do check there to see if there are any examples of surveys that you might want to use a starting point for your project.

Conducting Interviews with Surveybe Freedom Implementer

What’s the difference between Surveybe Implementer and the Designer?

The Implementer application is used by interviewers to administer the questionnaire in the field. Once a questionnaire has been fully designed in the Designer, it can be exported to a file that the Implementer uses to display the questionnaire, record the responses and executes all of the routing and validations previously defined in the Designer.

The Designer application is used to build and configure a questionnaire, including screen structure, questions, response lists, rosters, routing and validations. The Designer is then also used to make any subsequent changes to a questionnaire’s structure or content as well as to export collected data to STATA, SPSS or .csv.


How many interviewers am I allowed under a surveybe licence?

Surveybe does not restrict the number of users of the Implementer software, so once you have purchased a licence for the Designer application, you have unlimited use of the Implementer application to share across as many interviewers as needed. Not only does this give you great flexibility within the field team, it also means the Implementer is not licenced to one hardware unit; therefore if the hardware fails, gets lost, stolen or damaged then you do not lose that licence; simply load the Implementer onto the replacement (or spare) hardware unit and carry on.

You can obtain the Android Implementer from the ‘Google Playstore’ or you can download it from the Surveybe website and ‘sideload’ it on your Android-based device. If you will be using the Windows Implementer for data collection, you can download the software from the Surveybe website before installing it on your device.  We advise you to use the same version of the Designer and Implementer across a project.


How do I import the questionnaire?

Once a questionnaire has been exported from the Designer, it can be shared with Supervisors / Interviewers via email, Bluetooth a memory stick or ftp, as you would normally share an electronic copy of any file.

Once shared, the user can save the file to their PC, open the Implementer, and click ‘import questionnaire’. A new interview can be started using the imported file.


What happens if I have to stop the interview half way through?

If you stop an interview part way through, when you re-open the Implementer at a later stage you will find that all your answers are still present in the software. The answers are saved in the database when users exit the current interview and ‘go back to Dashboard’.  The interview can therefore be stopped anywhere without data loss.

Similarly, at any time during the interview, you can move forward to a different section or back to refer to a previous screen as much as you like without losing any information already entered. Clicking the validation button on each screen will highlight to interviewers any incomplete screens or incorrectly answered question.


How does the interviewer check the accuracy of their responses?

Validation occurs dynamically throughout the interview by clicking the validate button at the top of each screen, and, as a final check at the end of the interview by clicking the ‘validate entire interview’ button. The Implementer will then list any errors and warnings it detects, along with standard system error messages and any Designer-defined validation messages. A single click on the ‘locate’ button in the error list takes the interviewer to the appropriate screen containing the error.


What if I don’t have an internet connection when interviewing?

You do not need to have a live connection whilst collecting data. You only need to be connected when you wish to send or upload interview data to Headquarters.

Data Collection and Export

What happens to my data? Where does it go once an interview is completed?

Your data is not touched by anyone other than yourselves. Once collected, the data remains encrypted in the individual interview files on the Interviewer’s PC until sent to your HQ team and exported by the Surveybe Designer application. Then the files are ready for import and statistical analysis in your chosen analysis package.


How do I get collected data into a readable format for Stata or other statistical packages?

Simply save the interview files submitted by the field team to your PC and use the ‘Export’ function in the Designer to convert the data into CSV tables, SPSS syntax file and a Stata Do-file. The standard CSV format means that the data is also importable into a range of statistical packages, and, if using SPSS or Stata, the syntax/Do-file adds another layer of automation, as no manual assigning of labels or variables will be necessary.


Can I export to any other Statistical Package than STATA?

Yes, Surveybe Freedom includes the ability to export straight to SPSS via an SPSS syntax file. This means ready-labelled data can be analysed without delay. Data is also exported in CSV format, most other analysis packages can import and read/use the data.

Can anyone view the questionnaire I have created –even without purchasing a licence?

Yes, anybody can install the Surveybe Implementer and be able to import any questionnaire that you create. There is no charge for the Surveybe Implementer so you can get comments and input from all stakeholders if you choose to share the instrument with them without the need for purchasing additional licences.


Note: A Designer licence and the questionnaire file are required in order to import data from interview files.

User Groups and Online Community Support

Is there an online user community?

Yes! We encourage our users to share survey developments and experiences on our User Forum. Upon purchasing a Designer licence, you will need to register for a surveybe account to access our Client Arena. Within this area you can link to our user forum to share questionnaires, trade design ideas and troubleshoot experimental SQL syntax with other users working on projects similar to yours.

Please feel free to register by following the link from within the client area of our website (for which licence holders receive a unique username and access code). Upon successful registration you are able to post comments and start threads.

What’s different about Surveybe on Android?

Surveybe pioneered CAPI data collection and again have redefined the possibilities with our latest version running on the Android and Fire operating systems.  We realise this may raise some questions which we hope the FAQ’s below will help to answer:
Do I need to create a separate version of my questionnaire for different devices?
No. Surveybe is always built with ease of use in mind – so you can build a single questionnaire in the Designer and export it for use across Windows, Android and Kindle Fire devices. You don’t need to reconfigure your questionnaire for the different devices. The Implementer will recognise which operating system it is running on then respond appropriately. This means certain display and answer feature will work slightly differently, optimising the features of a particular operating system. For example, when run under Android the GPS answer type captures the response via a single click of a button. With Windows the GPS answer type can be copied into a text field from an external device. The devices will display the relevant answer fields depending upon its operating system.


If I have already built a surveybe questionnaire for Windows use, do I have to start again so the questionnaire will work with Android and Kindle Fire?
Not if you built your questionnaire in version 5 of surveybe. If your questionnaire was built in version 4.0 or a later version you will normally simply need to import and open your existing questionnaire in the latest version of the surveybe Designer and re-export the file ready for deployment in field onto the latest version of the Implementer and it will work. If you have pre-populated rosters you might need to make some small changes to the pre-population SQL, as you would if you were upgrading to the version 5 Windows Implementer.


Although not strictly necessary, to best exploit the new features, Android environment and new answer types you may wish to set aside a small amount of time to make some refinements to your questionnaire before exporting it.

Import and data export remains the same as in previous versions so no changes are required there.

I’ve heard Android doesn’t usually support rosters within apps so can’t I build rosters anymore in surveybe?
Whilst it is true that Android doesn’t naturally support tables, we at Surveybe understand how important rosters can be to display and structure questionnaires for the type of large, complex CAPI surveys that our clients undertake. We have therefore, uniquely, chosen to invest sufficient time in developing table functionality for our Android version. Rosters can be any width or length that you require. They are expandable and you can allow enumerators to add as many rows as they wish. Enumerators can easily swipe and scroll within rosters to navigate and optimise screen display with the touch of a finger!


What can I do with surveybe on Android that I can’t do on Windows?
Our Android version has the same impressive suite of functionality as the original, Windows version of surveybe. As you may expect some features display or operate slightly differently but these versions are fully comparable. It’s worth bearing in mind, if you are currently running an earlier version of surveybe, you might find new functionality that you hadn’t come across before in the Android version that’s already in version 5.


Specifically, the Android environment means that the Implementer:

  • Allows the user to change the screen colour theme
  • Captures GPS readings directly from the built in GPS (if there is one!)
  • Can capture audio recordings as a Quality control check
  • Is visually cleaner and easier to use, with additional help and some embedded error messages
  • Doesn’t require a separate Java download
Is there a difference in cost between the versions?
No – our Implementer remains free – no matter which operating system you use! The Surveybe Designer remains the chargeable element of our software suite (this is where users configure questionnaires for deployment across appropriate Windows, Android or Kindle Fire devices). There is no limitation on the number of Implementer installations, questionnaires, interviews or volumes of data collected.


What versions of Android and Kindle Fire OS are compatible with surveybe?
Surveybe will run on Android v4.4 ‘KitKat’ and subsequent versions. At the time of writing the list of versions includes ‘KitKat’, ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Marshmallow’ versions of Android – versions prior to ‘KitKat’ are not compatible.


You’ll need Fire OS 4 or later if you are planning to use Kindle Fire devices.

How will I install the surveybe Implementer on my Android devices?
There are two ways to access the surveybe for Android Implementer installer.


You can obtain the installer using our traditional methods of distribution – typically downloading the latest installer from the client area on our website. You can then share the installer file with your team as an email attachment, through a network (for example from a shared folder or via Bluetooth) or via a physical connection (such as USB stick).

The installer is saved onto your target device and launched. It then runs the built in ‘installation wizard’ to manage the process. This approach is called ‘side-loading’ and will install Surveybe onto the device. This approach allows you to optimise your device management.

The second method is to install the latest version directly from the Google Play store. You will need to establish a Google account to download files and apps from the Google Play store.

Can I swipe?
Yes you can – you can also scroll, press, hold and flick. Surveybe for Android embraces the gestures and interface features that the Android and Fire OS operating systems inherently provide. This allows easy navigation within a questionnaire and provides a clean, fresh, modern appearance for interviewers in the field.


Will surveybe run on Android phones?
Surveybe will run on phones but it has been developed with tablets in mind (from 7 inch and larger) to allow for the sophisticated level of data collection that Surveybe users typically require. This includes being able to configure questionnaires to allow for the presentation of rosters on screen. Questionnaires with rosters may be tricky to use on the smaller screens typically found on phones.


You should also consider performance –tablet devices typically have much faster processors and more memory than phones at a similar price point, so will run more complex surveys more quickly.Tablets will also normally have superior battery life if they are running complex applications.

Phones would be useful for smaller, more linear questionnaires perhaps for Quality Control follow-up visits or for simple questionnaire that don’t use complex rosters.

You can find some advice on hardware selection in our Android installation guide.

Has Surveybe on Android been field tested?
Indeed! We never make full, public major releases until we have extensively desk and field tested them. EDI Group is unique in not only developing Surveybe but in also implementing large-scale research and data collection projects in Africa. Through our experienced field teams on the continent we are able to fully test our releases in genuine field conditions.


Do I need to be connected to the Internet to use surveybe for Android?
No. Surveybe continues to work offline – which is the norm in many data collections in the Global South. Data is recorded at the device level during the live interview and auto-encrypted to keep it secure. Unlike other packages, data collection isn’t interrupted by loss of connection, and you can transfer encrypted interviews between devices in the field. If an internet connection is available, surveybe’s auto-import functionality means that you can upload data straight from the field – still encrypted and secure. So the best of both worlds!


Do I need to upload data to the Google servers?
No. You don’t need to upload your data to anyone’s servers (or even use the Internet if you don’t want to).


Although the Android operating system is developed by Google that is where the connection ends. Surveybe auto-encrypts data at the device level and provides users with complete flexibility of how and where to share it. You can auto-import direct from the field (or up the field hierarchy to supervisors) via the Internet if you want. Alternatively you can use a myriad other routes (for example using physical media like a memory stick. or perhaps using a Bluetooth connection between devices). It’s your data. Surveybe do not see why anyone should insist that your collected data is uploaded to their servers where it may subject to the jurisdiction of governmental or other authorities – your data is yours to keep safe.

Can I capture files from 3rd party applications like scanners or specialist equipment?
Yes. New functionality in both versions of the Implementer means you can now attach any kind of digital file you can save on your device to an interview. The file is amalgamated into the encrypted interview file meaning it’spackaged and delivered seamlessly to field supervisors and/or your data collection team.


Can I find out more information about this version of Surveybe?
Yes. There is a range of reference material to help including: an updated user manual which outlines how to use the new functionality, a changes guide (incorporating a transition guide for existing surveybe users), a new installation guide and a guide to handling files and data for users not yet familiar with the Android environment. We will add more materials as time passes as well as posting important, updated information onto our user forum from time to time.


Does this release contain anything other than Android related changes?
Yes, the file attachment functionality will also be new to users of the previous version of the Windows Implementer.


We are not familiar with using Android, can you help?
Unfortunately we can’t provide comprehensive technical support for any operating system, but our support team are well versed in the basics surrounding the operation of Surveybe in Android and will always endeavour to assist clients wherever they can.


We understand that some of our clients may be less familiar with Android that the Windows environment. We’ve produced a comprehensive Android Installation guide and a guide to managing your questionnaires and interviews in the Android environment to help you understand what’s involved. We recommend you read both of these documents, even if you are already familiar with Android. You can obtain these documents from the client area on the Surveybe website or from your Surveybe contact.

If you have specific queries about surveybe and its deployment on your projects then please contact us via info@surveybe.com