Decide How to Collect & Store Your Data

Pick a Data Collection Tool

Many data collection methods are available. Below are a few options to consider. 

Most online forms provide features like:

  • Drag and drop questions
  • Multiple choice, fill-in, multiple answers, checkbox, and other types of questions
  • Question library (a collection of questions used by others who have created online forms using that data collection method)
  • Conditional questions (previous answers can allow users to skip irrelevant questions)
  • Required questions
  • A function that imports answers into a spreadsheet or centralized database
  • A feature that sends a notifications when a form is completed

Three types of services can help you create online forms and collect data: online forms, online surveys, and registry platforms. Your options narrow with increased customization and deeper data analysis. Performing internet research to learn more about the online form builders will help you choose the most appropriate options for your registry.

Online Form
Use this service to create custom forms to collect information online. The cost and features vary and you can often find free options that meet many of your needs.

Primary Use: Small- to medium-scale populations
Cost: Free/low-cost options

Online Survey
Use this service to build online questionnaires with more sophisticated features and ways to analyze and present your data. There are free options, but usually with limited features (e.g., limits on the number of questions, no data export capabilities).

Primary Use: Small- to medium-scale populations
Cost: Free/low-cost options

Registry Platform
This custom software is designed to capture and manage patient data, including features for clinical trials and collecting participant registry data. These tools tend to have a significant cost, however they also usually provide customized support. 

Primary Use: Large-scale populations
Cost: Medium to high

Many data collection tools are available. For examples of data collection tools, visit the Resources section of this step. You may also want to view the sample online forms we created using Google Forms and Survey Monkey  using the RaDaR Tool: Standard Contact & Demographic Questions. We encourage you to perform an internet search to find other data collection method options. Use our RaDaR Tool: Compare Features of Data Collection Methods to compare options and to determine which service best meets your registry’s goals.