Data Collection for Research

Data Collection for Research

Service Description

This service supports the process of collecting data via input, by research participants, to electronic forms, surveys, questionnaires, or polls.

The service provides a range of solutions enabling survey/form design, publication, data collection, data visualization/analysis, and reporting of results. Some solutions facilitate the user to be fully self-reliant, while others require varying levels of DDIS support.

Our Platform Comparison can help you select the most appropriate platform for your needs. More detailed information on each platform can be found in their individual guide to service documents.

The University supports 3 approved systems for data collection:

  • Snap surveys – a general purpose survey tool.
  • REDCap – useful for projects requiring multi-site data entry or repeated sampling of same cohort over time.
  • Microsoft Forms – very basic features

See Support Documentation for further information.


  • Survey/form design
  • Data collection
  • Manage surveys and reminders
  • Analyse results
  • Report on data

Note: access to some features may vary by platform and user type (see platform specific guide to service).


  • UoA staff (inc. honorary)
  • UoA students
  • NHS Clinicians (hosting only)
  • External staff if project includes UoA staff members

Service Hours

Servers supporting survey tools run 24 hours per day 7 days per week 365 days per year except during scheduled maintenance windows, of which users will receive advance notification.

Staff support is available 09:00-17:00, Monday to Friday, excluding University closure periods.


Level of Service

  • Levels of service will depend on product selected to meet user requirements
  • Backup and restore of items:  Back up as per University published backup strategy.
  • Downtime: Details will be communicated via and service updates

Support and Documentation

Documentation is available as follows:

User Responsibility

  • Users must comply with all relevant University policies and guidance (see policy zone) including:
    • Data Protection Policy
    • Information Security Policy
    • Research Data Management Policy and Guidance
    • Conditions for using IT Services
    • Records Management Policy
  • Users are expected to familiarize themselves with relevant legislation such as:
    • Data Protection Act (DPA)
    • UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)
    • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)
  • Users must ensure that they have appropriate ethical approval and have assessed whether there is a need to perform a Data Protection Impact Assessment before launching a survey.
  • Principal investigators of research projects and supervisors of students are responsible for ensuring compliance with the above.


The content and timing of some surveys require approval pre-launch:

  • Surveys targeting the wider student population require approval by Student Experience
  • Surveys targeting UoA staff require approval by Human Resources

Platform Comparison

Features/Appropriate Usage Snap REDCap MS Forms
Use by staff/PGRs yes yes yes
Use by students yes yes no
Suitable for one-off surveys yes no no
Suitable for repeat surveys / longitudinal studies no yes no
Suitable for applications no no yes
Suitable for collaborations with external users no yes yes
Suitable for Personal Data yes yes yes
Suitable for Sensitive Data  yes yes no
Suitable for internal audience yes yes yes
Suitable for external audience yes yes yes
Suitable for mobile delivery yes yes yes
Suitable for paper delivery yes no no
Can extract data in SPSS (.sav) format yes yes no
Can extract data in CSV or Excel format yes yes yes
Can manage cohorts via mailing lists yes yes yes
Can manage cohorts via Active Directory no no yes
Can schedule communications, including reminders yes yes no
Includes tools for analysis and reporting yes yes no
Includes web integration tool  yes no no
Can anonymise returns yes yes yes
Institutional branding available yes no yes
Multiple language options yes no no
Can include workflows and /or routing yes yes yes
Document upload available yes yes yes
Self-service yes yes yes
Design service available yes yes yes
Support to launch available yes yes yes
Support/documentation available yes yes yes
Survey access and data download supported on all operating systems  yes yes yes
Design process supported on all operating systems no yes yes