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Bristol Online Surveys

Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) is an easy-to-use service that lets you build, send out, and analyse your survey results, all on the web.

It's not difficult to set-up and you don't need any technical knowledge. The University of St Andrews has a subscription to this service and recommends this for all your work and study related surveys. The BOS tool can be used to conduct small or large scale surveys over the Internet. Survey questionnaires are easy to set up, and offer a variety of question formats, and a simple page and section structure. Survey respondents simply need to visit a dedicated webpage to complete the questionnaire. Some very easy to use data analysis tools are available.

  • Typical applications include:
  • postgraduate research projects
  • course evaluation questionnaires
  • customer quality evaluation surveys
  • transport to work surveys
  • student careers surveys

The tool is provided under license from the University of Bristol.

Availability and entitlement

This service is mainly designed for use by University staff. Others require appropriate authorisation to use it. The Bristol Online Survey (BOS) tool can be made available to postgraduate students, but they must first discuss it with their Supervisor or course organiser and have their written support for the project. In some cases we may be able to make it available for undergraduates on a specific course to use, by arrangement with the course tutor.

Getting a BOS account

Contact the IT Service Desk (email itservicedesk) to discuss your requirements. This email address should be your first point of contact for all enquiries connected with this tool. Please do not contact Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) directly. You will need to provide a name, username, and email address for yourself and any others on whose behalf you are applying. We can then create a login for you to access the administrative area of the tool. This gives you access to an exemplar survey containing examples of question types, which you can edit and use as a template for your own surveys. Using the Bristol Online Survey tool.

Upon successful application for a BOS account you will receive instructions for connecting to BOS, you will be asked to generate a temporary BOS password, which will be sent to the email address you provided. Upon receiving this password, you should change it immediately to one known only by you.

Once your BOS, account has been set up, you will have immediate access to an exemplar survey, which you can use as an editable template to help you create your own surveys. This has examples of the various question types available in the survey tool. We suggest that you familiarise yourself with the software by spending some time exploring the survey by editing it to meet your needs.

Ethical considerations

Permission to survey may need considered by the University Teaching and Research Ethics Committee (UTREC).  Please see the UTREC web pages for futrther information:

Language options

BOS allows you to present the user interface in a variety of European languages. At present the supported languages are: Dutch, English, French, Gaelic, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, and Spanish.

Controlling who can complete your BOS survey

By default your surveys are open to any respondent who knows the URL. However, there are two ways to control access and avoid multiple submissions from the same person:

  • enter a list of usernames and passwords
  • provide access to your survey from another system

If you are seeking to automate access to a group of users already defined in another system, please contact the IT Service Desk for advice.

Help and support

All requests for help and support with this tool should be directed to the IT Service Desk. We will, if necessary, pass your query on to the Bristol Survey Tool team who always do their best to respond to requests. We are always interested to receive suggestions for service enhancements which can be passed onto the BOS team.

Quick answers

See if your question is answered in our quick answers.

Contact the IT Service Desk

Log a call using IT Self-Service
(01334 46) 3333
 Message us on Skype for Business
(Mon - Fri, 09:00 - 17:00)

Level 2
University Library
North Street
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9TR

Opening Hours
Mon - Fri
: 08:30-18:00
(front desk support
from 09:00)

Sat: 10:00-17:00
Sun: 11:00-18:00

The IT Service Desk is closed
for staff training on Fridays
between 09:30 and 10:30