Instructional Technology Newsletter 4 – Getting Started with Qualtrics

Chandra Mason, Assistant Professor of Psychology

January 2013

What is Qualtrics? 
My typical response to this question is that it is SurveyMonkey on steroids.  A more precise (if less colorful) answer is that Qualtrics is a very robust, online survey software that allows you to create data collection assessments and collect data.  It also has data analysis capabilities, but if you need a procedure that isn’t there, you can download the raw data into a format that is compatible with statistical software programs, such as SPSS.  If you are interested in creating very attractive data reports quickly, Qualtrics can do that as well.  However, probably the single biggest advantage of Qualtrics over some of its less expensive competitors is that data encryption and storage is compliant with the standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), so if you are collecting particularly sensitive information, you can rest assured that your data are protected.

How is Qualtrics used?
Probably the most common use of Qualtrics at Mary Baldwin is for survey research.  However, I have used Qualtrics to conduct an experiment in which I randomly assigned participants to watch one of two online video tutorials, and I’ve used it to poll a class to help schedule a review session.  Also, we have advocated for using Qualtrics to conduct course evaluations.  Just think: no more counting SAs and SDs by hand!

What are some Qualtrics features?
According to the website (

, there are over 17 major types of questions in Qualtrics, including multiple choice, rank order, sliding scale, and text entry.   You can also employ display and skip logics, so that questions will display only if certain conditions are met or in a particular order depending on how a respondent answers.    It is also possible to collaborate with other researchers on the same project so that each researcher can edit and access the assessment and the data.

How does it work? 
Once you have created an assessment tool, you can ask Qualtrics to generate a weblink that you then copy, paste and distribute however you prefer (e.g., via email, Blackboard, or a website).  In this scenario, everyone receives the same weblink, which when clicked, takes the respondent to the beginning of the assessment.  Or you can import email addresses and have Qualtrics send a unique link to each individual email address.  This latter option gives you more information about who responded to your assessment, but it comes at a loss of anonymity.  Qualtrics also has a social media distribution option that allows you to share your assessments through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

How do I get started? 
Per the terms of our institutional license, anyone with an Mary Baldwin email address can have a Qualtrics account.  Simply send your request in an email message to Beverly Riddell ( and she’ll do the rest!

How do I learn more? 

I and any number of faculty members around campus will be happy to give you hands-on assistance with Qualtrics.  Additionally, Qualtrics has the Q University, a very extensive, easy to use online resource database, and a quick 5 step online training program (  that covers all the major features.  This website from BYU ( has some very useful information.  Finally, I have had nothing but positive experiences with phone support: on the rare occasion that I couldn’t find what I needed in the online Q University, I’ve called the number on the website and Tech. Support answered the phone.

About the Committee:

The Instructional Technology Committee is an ad-hoc faculty committee made up of representatives from the faculty and the Instructional Technology staff at Mary Baldwin.The Current Committee is:
Carol Creager
Doris Dodson
Bob Klonoski (Chair)
Chandra Mason
Reid Oechslin
Rachel Potter
Beverly Riddell
Susan Stearns
Laura van AssendelftThe charter of the committee is to:
  • Provide a forum for input to the Instructional Technology staff on the relative value of technological improvements from a pedagogical perspective
  • Be a champion and example for technology enhanced teaching within their schools
  • Try out new technologies that seem promising
  • Develop and share best practices & rubrics for technology enhanced teaching
  • Recommend equipment and management for mixed use (instructional and non-instructional) space
This committee meets as necessary.