Qualtrics is a powerful online survey tool available to all College staff, and students, and gives you the capability to build and distribute your own surveys as part of course/research/administrative needs.

Qualtrics overview

What can Qualtrics do?

Qualtrics Survey Platform allows you to construct surveys, distribute them to your respondents, report on your results, and more.

Read the Qualtrics Survey Platform overview pages for step by step instructions.

There are also a series of helpful written and video tutorials to introduce users to the most important features of the survey tool.

Getting started?

To login to Qualtrics, visit Qualtrics and enter your College username and password. Qualtrics is supported on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

Best Practices

Below is a list of best practices for creating a survey. In general it is down to the survey creator to establish their survey strategy, and ICT or Qualtrics cannot advise in this area. 

What to think about before creating a survey

Survey building is as much an art as it is a science. It involves planning, attention to detail in the design and flow of your survey, plus:

  • Identify purpose/objectives of the survey
  • Design and write high quality questions based on the objectives of the survey. Have a look at ‘Writing Effective Questions
  • Download the 7 Tips for Writing Surveys eBook to master the details of survey writing.
  • Use advanced logic to keep the survey as short as possible and ensure respondents are not asked to answer repeating or irrelevant questions.
  • Enhance transparency by setting the right expectations and inform the respondents of the survey’s purpose and goals, who is it from, how long it will take and how their personal data will be handled. To see how long a survey will take, you can do test runs and see the relevant ‘survey counts’ in Qualtrics.
  • Also, on the first page of the survey (and on the email invitation if one is sent), the name, contact address and Department/Faculty of the survey owner should be clearly stated, so respondents know where to go to with any questions.
  • Respondents (especially students and staff) should be informed of any positive actions that have been taken (or are to be taken) as a result of previous surveys so they are involved throughout the process.
  • Also, unless there are reasons against it (e.g. sensitive information), respondents can be invited to have a look at the results of the survey. You can do this by ‘making reports public’.
  • If the survey is going to be distributed to respondents via a contacts, you should save them the effort of providing information that is already known about them (e.g. name, surname, student year). For more details see embedded data.
  • The survey responses should ideally be anonymous, or at least confidential and respondents informed of that.
  • Format the survey and pilot test the survey to monitor for any issues
  • Test the survey before you send it out. If it is to be sent to a large number of respondents you can do a ‘soft run’ by sending it to a subset first and monitor for any issues.
  • Ensure the survey is necessary (especially if it is to be sent via email to large groups) and the requested information is not already available.
  • Some incentives involving prizes can be used when appropriate, but care should be taken because they tend to skew the results as the goal of the respondent becomes the prize rather than the feedback itself.
  • To boost your response rates you can send reminders.
  • Finally ensure the opt-out rules are being adhered to.
  • Compile reports and also (if applicable) send feedback to respondents on results of the survey.

Terms of use and data protection

These Terms of Use (“TOU”) contain the terms under which Qualtrics services may be accessed and used in the College. The Qualtrics survey system offers the College a great way of sourcing information but you need to be aware of the risks associated with its usage.

In general, it is down to the survey creator/requestor to ensure the survey respondents’ (students/staff/external contacts) rights and the College’s reputation are protected. Your use of the Survey Service means you have accepted these Survey Terms and the TOU. If you do not wish to agree to these Survey Terms, please do not use this service.


The person who has the decision / authority on how the data will be used and processed is responsible for ensuring the regulations are adhered to and any personal data is kept secure. Your use of the Survey Service must comply with all relevant regulations including: 

Data Protection

Below are specific recommendations to support data protection in Qualtrics:

  • The data on contacts and responses should be kept only for as long as they are needed.  The same principle applies for data exported from the system.
  • The survey respondents should always understand how their data is to be used, whether it will be anonymised and for how long it will be kept. Respondents should be given the option not to participate if they do not agree with these terms.
  • Survey responses (i.e. raw data and reports) should be anonymised by default. If full anonymisation is not possible (i.e. the researcher needs to be able to link back to respondents) then confidentiality should be offered as a minimum to the respondents.
  • The system fulfils our security standards for the collection of sensitive personal information, however the data (usually held in responses and contacts) should remain on the system for the duration of the survey and then downloaded to a secure area and deleted from Qualtrics.
  • Access to raw data and reports should be provided only to those who need access.
  • The Department’s Data Protection Commissioner Coordinators should be informed when personal data is being manipulated. The HESA Collection Notice should be referenced where relevant.
  • All of the above should also apply to any data held on external mediums (e.g. spreadsheets with data that are imported into and exported out from the system).
  • Care should be taken when collaborating (sharing) any surveys or contacts with other users. Access to these shared libraries should be given only where necessary.
  • College Authorised Officers, System Custodians, and IS Liaison Officers are already involved in the application of the DPA and FOI. 

As a guide, here are the areas within Qualtrics where data might lay, If you have any questions please contact ICT.

On a Contacts (e.g. respondent name/surname/email/course year etc.).

  1. In the responses (e.g. respondent name/surname or feedback on member of staff).
  2. On the survey questions themselves (e.g. the question is disclosing specific personal information of a member of staff).
  3. On a shared survey/contacts library.
  4. On spreadsheets that are imported into and exported out of the system (this is outside Qualtrics but part of the process).

Freedom of information and respondent access to results

The College as a public authority has elevated data publication responsibilities.

If there is a request for release of information then these should be forwarded to the Freedom of Information Office. Survey creators should be ready to disclose any information regarding their surveys but the data needs to be anonymised before disclosure.

Help and support

If you have any survey questions please contact Qualtrics Support team on +44 (0)20 3808 3311 or email Qualtrics.

If you need help with something specific to Imperial's Qualtrics please Contact the ICT Service Desk.

Do you need to administer surveys offline?

If you need to administer a survey when you don't have an internet connection then you can use the Qualtrics Offline Surveys application.

Find out more about Offline Surveys