A Survey in Microsoft Access

 

Introduction

A survey is a technique of sampling data from a number of respondents. For example, a business can create a survey, submit it to customers for feedback and get indicative ideas of what the customers appreciate or dislike about the business. There are no set rules as to how a survey is used or even why a person or a company would initiate one. It depends on the intention and the intended result.

You can easily create a survey using Microsoft Access. As always, planning is crucial. In fact, probably the most difficult aspect of a survey is to know what to ask and what choices to present to the respondents. For our example, imagine you have a sample of people who use Microsoft Access and you want to investigate what their involvement with MS Access is.

 

Survey Planning

You can start by creating a list of questions to ask the respondents. For our example, imagine you come up with questions like these:

Question 1: Where do you mostly use Microsoft Access?
At home
At the office
At school
I don't use Microsoft Access
Question 2: What version of Microsoft Access are you currently mostly using?
Access 2 or Prior to 97
Access 97
Access 2000
Access 2002
Access 2003
I don't mostly use Microsoft Access
Question 3: How do you currently relate to Microsoft Access?
I am taking a class in Microsoft Access
I work for a company where I use Access full-time
I work for a company and I use Access sometimes
I own a business that provides database solutions
I teach Microsoft Access or databases
I am curious or have other reasons
Question 4: What is your level of knowledge of Microsoft Access?
I am just starting with Access
I have been learning or using Access for a while
I know a good deal about Access
I don't know Access and/or am not interested
Question 5: If you combine Access with another product, please select it
I use only Access
I combine Access with Visual Basic 6
I combine Access with Visual Basic .NET
I combine Access with Visual C#
I combine Access with Visual C++ MFC
I combine Access with Visual C++ .NET
I combine Access with a Borland environment
I use one of the .NET Framework free compilers
I combine Access with SharpDevelop
I combine Access with another product
Question 6: What are your plans with regards to Microsoft Access?
I plan to continue using Access only
I plan to combine Access with SQL Server
I plan to combine Access with another product
I plan to switch to another database environment
I don't have any plans right now or I don't know
 

Survey Creation

After planning the survey, you can create it. You can start from a normal table in Design View. Although you can use a long name for any question, you should use short ones. The first question can be named Question1, the second question can be named Question2, and so on. To give an indication of what a question is, you can change its Caption in the Design View accordingly. If you are equipped with the paper you used to plan the survey, which you should be, you can omit the captions as they may appear too long.

To provide the various answers for each question, once again you have many options. For an advanced survey, you can first create a table for each question, then link all question-tables to a central table. The easiest alternative is to use the Lookup Wizard and its second radio button to create the answers.

An alternative to creating the answers is still to use the Lookup Wizard but, because the Lookup Wizard has some limitation on the length of its strings, you can provide non-explicit answers such as Answer 1, Answer 2, etc, depending on the number of answers.

 

Practical Learning: Creating the Survey

  1. If you want to follow this example, create a Blank Database named Survey
  2. To create a new table, on the main menu, click Insert -> Table and in the New Table dialog box, double-click Design View
  3. Set the first field name to QuestionID and its Data Type to AutoNumber
  4. Right-click it and click Primary Key
  5. Set the second Field Name to Question1
  6. Press Tab, type L and press F6
  7. In the first page of the Lookup Wizard, click the bottom radio button and click Next
     
  8. Click the box under Col1, type At home and press the down arrow key
  9. Complete the list as follows:
     
  10. Click Next and click Finish
  11. In the lower section of the table, click Caption and type:
     
    Where do you mostly use Microsoft Access?
  12. Under Question1 in the top section of the table, set the next Field Name to Question2 and set its Data Type to Lookup Wizard
  13. Click the bottom radio button and complete the list under Col1 as follows:
     
  14. Click Next and click Finish
  15. In the lower section of the table, click Caption and type:
     
    What version of Microsoft Access are you currently mostly using?
  16. Under Question2 in the top section of the table, set the next Field Name to Question3 and set its Data Type to Lookup Wizard
  17. Click the bottom radio button and complete the list under Col1 as follows:
     
  18. Click Next and click Finish
  19. In the lower section of the table, click Caption and type:
     
    How do you currently relate to Microsoft Access?
  20. Under Question3 in the top section of the table, set the next Field Name to Question4 and set its Data Type to Lookup Wizard
  21. Click the bottom radio button and complete the list under Col1 as follows:
     
  22. Click Next and click Finish
  23. In the lower section of the table, click Caption and type:
     
    What is your level of knowledge of Microsoft Access?
  24. Under Question4 in the top section of the table, set the next Field Name to Question5 and set its Data Type to Lookup Wizard
  25. Click the bottom radio button and complete the list under Col1 as follows:
     
  26. Click Next and click Finish
  27. In the lower section of the table, click Caption and type:
     
    If you combine Access with another product, please select it
  28. Under Question5 in the top section of the table, set the next Field Name to Question6 and set its Data Type to Lookup Wizard
  29. Click the bottom radio button and complete the list under Col1 as follows:
     
  30. Click Next and click Finish
  31. In the lower section of the table, click Caption and type:
     
    What are your plans with regards to Microsoft Access?
  32. Save the table as Questions and switch it to Datasheet View
  33. To test it, perform a few surveys (examples below)
  34. Close the table

Form Creation

After initiating the table, you would then create a form or a Data Access Page. This is where you would have to be creative. Because the form or the DAP is the object you would present to the users, it must be as explicit, indicative, and clear as possible.

Practical Learning: Creating the Form

  1. In the Tables section of the Database Window, click the Survey table
  2. On the Database window, click the arrow of the New Object button and click AutoForm
  3. Save the form as Questions
  4. Design the form as follows:
     
  5. Switch it to Form View to see the result
     
  6. Close the form
    Now you can send the survey as a database to your target audience

Chart Creation

One of the ways, or the main reason, people use a survey is to study data in it. One way to do this is to generate charts. In this exercise, we will not go through all the details of chart creation as covered in our Lesson 19. Just keep in mind that, once a survey has been completed or once you have some data already, you can isolate which ones to study, using charts.

In this exercise, we will generate a pie chart that allows us to know what version is mostly used by our respondents.

Practical Learning: Creating a Chart

  1. On the main menu, click Insert -> Form
  2. In the New Form dialog box, click Chart Wizard
  3. In the combo box, select Questions
     
  4. Click OK
  5. In the first page of the wizard, double-click Question2 and click Next
     
  6. In the second page, click Pie Chart and click Next
  7. Click Next again and click Finish
  8. Save the form as Microsoft Access Version Repartition
  9. Using the techniques we reviewed in Lesson 20, resize the form and the chart as you see fit. Then format the chart to your liking:
     
  10. Close the form
 

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