UCalgary Qualtrics Documentation and Training

Qualtrics provides many free online tutorials, extensive online documentation, and downloadable research resources to help you learn how to make the best use of the UCalgary Survey Tool. Find curated links, and step-by-step instructions to guide you through the survey creation process. Should you require further assistance in how to create valid and reliable surveys, review the references provided in the section on best practices below.

This section is intended for those who have never used Qualtrics, or are not familiar with Qualtrics Research Core platform. You will find Qualtrics links, and webinars on how to use the survey tool. Additional documentation, and scheduled training seminars will continuously be added to help you understand all the features Qualtrics provides. Stay tuned!

If you have never worked with an online survey tool, or simply not aware of what Qualtrics can do, try this quick and easy questionnaire . It provides interactive examples of what you can do with the software and includes links where you can find more information on the Qualtrics Research Core support pages. Highly recommended.

Learn the Research Core: At login, you will be presented with the Research Core platform homepage. The Projects Page will be shown as default. A list of your current survey projects will be shown..

Main Top Menu Items:

  1. Project Page: All Qualtrics sessions begin on the Projects page – a one-stop shop listing all the XM projects you have created and those that have been shared with you.
  2. Contacts Page: Contact lists are mailing lists used to distribute survey invitations via email or SMS. Contact lists are also called panels or, simply, lists.
  3. Library Page: You can store surveys, graphics, messages, and other file types within your Qualtrics libraries. You can access this content by going to the Library page
  4. Managing your Account: You can find useful settings and statistics for your Qualtrics account in your Account Settings. From here, you can perform basic tasks such as changing your password or checking how many responses you’ve collected.

Create a Survey Project: Before you can use the survey module, you must first create a survey project. A project consists of a survey, distribution record, and collection of responses and reports. You can create a new survey project from scratch, from a copy of an existing survey, from a template in your Survey Library, or from an exported QSF file.

Survey Module Tab Items:

  1. Survey Editor Tab: Surveys are created and edited in the survey editor. You can select questions types and edit question text. You can also modify the look and feel of your survey (theme), and define how questions are skipped or displayed.
  2. Actions Tab: Actions convert real-time survey responses into measurable tasks such as triggering an email for a given response,
  3. Distribution Tab: Survey data collection channels (email, web, social media or mobile) and methods are determined in the Distribution tab. .
  4. Data & Analysis Tab: The Data & Analysis tab lets you filter, classify, merge, clean, and statistically analyze your response data
  5. Reports Tab: The reports tab allows to build reports from your collected responses.

How to create an effective survey?

Surveys can take many forms. Developing an effective survey begins with a clear understanding of purpose and objectives of your survey. Whether you are conducting a survey for scientific research, or more simply to gather the opinions and experiences of your members, this section will provide you with a basic overview of best practices when building your survey.

Constructing an effective survey is as much art as science. Best practices are only guidelines, not recipes. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of advice, recipes and commandments on the web about what should or should not be done when conducting a survey. There is simply no substitute for a proper literature review of best survey practices in your particular discipline or your particular topic of interest. There is no substitute for getting as much information as you can about your population: their interests and concerns, their preferred mode of communication, and their schedule. There is no substitute for testing your survey questions on a small subset of your population.

Your population is a precious resource. Do not spam them with needless survey requests.

The following two Qualtrics webinars on survey methodology are designed to inform Qualtrics users on some of the most critical methodological issues when creating survey questions. These webinars serve as a good introduction to those who may not be familiar with the dangers and pitfalls of incorrectly selecting the wrong question type.

Please note: Some recommendations offered in these videos may not be appropriate for your particular topic, your research area, or your population of interest. A review of the methodological survey literature in your domain is recommended. Additional Qualtrics links and suggested readings are provided below.

  1. Qualtrics Basic Survey Methodology Webinar

    Webinar duration: 37 minutes

    Note: To view this webinar, Qualtrics requests that you enter your first and last name, your email and organization.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Selecting appropriate question types and response options
    2. Question wording and question order


  2. Qualtrics Advanced Survey Methodology Webinar

    Webinar duration: 23 minutes

    Note: To view this webinar, Qualtrics requests that you enter your first and last name, your email and organization.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Writing good survey questions and data quality
    2. Cognitive response process and satisficing


  3. Additional Qualtrics Links



Please note: Some recommendations offered in the links below may not be appropriate for your particular topic, your research area, or your population of interest. A review of the methodological survey literature in your domain, followed by proper question testing is highly recommended. Suggested readings are provided below.

  1. Qualtrics Handbook of Question Design

    Author: David L. Vanette, Principal Research Scientist at Qualtrics

    This complimentary 26-page Qualtrics handbook introduces key best practices for question design along with the theoretical and empirical rationale behind those best practices. For example, when should you use rating, ranking, or open-ended questions? Or when should write your own question rather than settling for a standard entry? Follow these best practices and more to design questions that will enable your respondents to give you their best data.

    Table of Contents:

    • Data Quality
    • Q & A
    • Understanding the Data Generation Process
    • The Threat of Satisficing
    • Designing Questions to Maximize Data Quality
    • Question Wording
    • Using an Existing Question vs Writing Your Own
  2. Additional Qualtrics Links

    Suggested Readings

     Coming soon!


The Office of Institutional Analysis will gladly provide introductory training to support staff assigned to administering surveys in their units. Contact us to schedule a training session with your unit. One-on-one support staff training is subject to availabe resources.

Faculty and students may request introductory training through the TFDL or HSL Library.