Carrying Out a Paper Survey

The Impact & Insight Toolkit uses an online evaluation platform, but there are times when it is not possible to collect survey responses via online delivery methods. The team at Counting What Counts is here to support you in achieving valuable insight into the impact of your work, regardless of whether online surveying methods are suitable. This page lays out the options available to you and explains how to conduct a paper survey using the Impact & Insight Toolkit. View/download a PDF of this page here.

In this section:

  1. How to decide on the most suitable delivery method for public surveys
  2. How do I create a paper survey for public respondents?

pencils on yellow background

Before we go any further, let’s consider the three online survey delivery options:

  • Online delivery – A URL is generated which you email out to those that you wish to complete your survey; this requires email addresses and permission to contact.
  • Interview delivery – A URL is generated, formatted for intercept interview delivery. Multiple responses can be taken on one Internet enabled device.
  • Display delivery – A URL is generated; the survey is formatted similarly to the one for interview delivery, except that it is designed to be completed autonomously by the respondent.

We strongly encourage online data collection wherever possible due to the below reasons:

  • It is generally far less resource-heavy – no need for manual data entry
  • Timestamp data is collected, meaning that you can analyse your data to explore how views and experiences change over time
  • Useful visualisations are generated and subsequently presented in the reporting dashboard, all updated in real-time
  • The data is of a higher validity and will contribute to the aggregate dataset

However, there are occasions when you may need to collect data using a paper survey, such as:

  • When you do not have access to the email addresses of attendees
  • When there is no Internet connection (WiFi, 3G, 4G) on site
  • When you have no Internet enabled devices (tablet computers, mobile phones) that you can use to collect data
  • When your audience is unlikely to respond well to the use of technology – perhaps due to age[1], disability or language difficulties
  • When the use of online methods does not feel appropriate given the setting, nature or content of the event you are evaluating

For any given event, the flow chart below will help you decide which delivery method(s) would be most suitable for the distribution of your public surveys.

How to Decide on the Most Suitable Delivery Method for Public Surveys



How do I create a paper survey for public respondents? 

  1. Follow the steps for creating your evaluation in the Culture Counts platform, ensuring that the public survey is set up exactly how you wish (see the Impact & Insight Toolkit Platform Guide for more information).
  2. Use the ‘sharing’ feature to share your evaluation with a member of the Counting What Counts team.
  3. At least one week before the survey is required, contact us at Counting What Counts to request that we transpose your public survey.
  4. We will transpose your survey onto the requested paper format (e.g. PDF, Word document) and return it to you.
  5. You can print out your paper surveys and distribute them at your event.
  6. Once you have collected your public data, post the surveys to Counting What Counts for them to enter the data on your behalf.

Even if you are using a paper survey to collect public data, you should still use the Culture Counts platform to set up and distribute surveys for self and peer assessors. Once your public data is uploaded into the system, you will be able to view and download graphs of the self, peer and public data together. You will also be able to use the reporting template to produce a full report on your evaluation for your Relationship Manager, and to download all the raw data in a CSV file for further analysis.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions at all:

[1] According to Ofcom in 2017, 44% of those aged over 75 use the Internet ; 53% of those aged 3-4 and 79% of those aged 5-7 use the Internet


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The information on this page was last updated on 5 March, 2020.

Image credit: Joanna Kosinska via Unsplash