Which tool should I use?

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Should I use a survey, quick poll, discussion, question, survey map or idea boards tool in my consultation?

Community engagement is essential in any project to ensure that stakeholders are heard and their feedback is taken into account.

There are various digital engagement tools available to project managers to collect feedback from the community. However, choosing the right tool is crucial to achieve the desired outcome.

This guide aims to help project managers understand the benefits and drawbacks of different community engagement tools available to deploy on your District Engage website and provides guidance on selecting the right tools for your project.



Surveys are flexible and offer a wide range of question types. They are suitable for gathering feedback on a specific topic and ensuring that respondents stay on topic. They are easy to analyse, and are useful for gathering qualitative and quantitative data.

However, surveys can lead to survey fatigue if respondents feel that they are being asked repetitive questions. This can lead to lower response rates which impacts the reliability and accuracy of survey data.

If you must use surveys, ensure that the questions asked are relevant to the overall project and meaningful to the target audience. Better still, use surveys with a combination of other tools. This helps to engage a wider audience and capture a variety of viewpoints resulting in more accurate and reliable data.




Polls are quick and easy to submit, making them ideal for gauging public opinion on a particular topic. They are suitable for short and simple questions that require a quick response. Polls can be used on social media platforms to reach a wider audience, but they only provide limited response options. Use polls when you want to collect instant feedback on a topic or when you want to engage a large audience.




Survey Maps

Survey maps are useful for gathering spatial feedback and are often used for feedback on infrastructure, planning, building works, and roadworks. They are suitable for crowdsourcing ideas on where things like bike paths should go and for gathering location-specific feedback from the community. Use survey maps when you need to gather feedback on a specific location or for a project that has a spatial component.


Ideas Boards

Ideas tools are useful for the exploratory phase of a project, before strict parameters for the project are put in place. They encourage creative thinking and collaboration among community members, and allow participants to share ideas and images, and vote on submitted ideas.





Choosing the right tool

To choose the right tool, consider the desired outcomes of your engagement project, the target audience, and the type of feedback that will provide the best insights into your community.


What type of feedback do I want?

Participation Tool Feedback Type
  • Yes/no answers
  • Instant feedback on customer sentiment
  • Large audience
  • Answers to specific questions
  • Closed questions to provide easy data analysis
Survey Maps
  • Feedback on a specific location
Idea Boards
  • Generate creative ideas
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