e-Polls and e-surveys are the other main tools for e-consultation.


An online poll is a quick way to do an opinion survey. Websites of newspapers often run a poll of an issue. A key element of a poll is that they involve the use of closed questions. Many also provide immediate feedback to the participant on what the overall results to date are.

Example 1Edit

Do you think Darebin should run an annual Arts Festival? Yes / No

Example 2Edit

Do you think we should have a citizenship test? Yes / No

Be aware that if you conduct a vote at the end of a forum discussion you could be creating an expectation amongst the forum members that you might be treating the result as a vote.


You can use online surveys as a tool to collect data just as a paper survey is used. A survey is longer than a poll and offers more options for the types of answers obtained.

You can use a poll or survey to kick start or complement a discussion on a forum.

Example: Brisbane City Council, Your Say OnlineEdit

Brisbane City Council has used a quick poll in addition to a long survey to support a forum discussion. The quick polls were up for a month before being changed while the long survey was up for the length of the discussion topic. The polls provide a path of increasing involvement with participants who have taken part more likely to revisit the website and contribute to longer surveys and discussion forums.

Brisbane City Council’s online consultation home page [“Your Say Online”.]Edit

BCC homepage screenshot

Each topic has a poll, an article and/or discussion paper and a forum. Topics on the Brisbane forum are linked to current policy consultation processes.

Brisbane City Council Online Poll for “Open Space Strategy” topicEdit

BCC survey screenshot

The poll uses a combination of yes/no and multiple choice questions. It provides another option for citizens to give their views online.

Brisbane City Council: Your Say Online: SurveysEdit
Software used
Purpose of survey To provide an online version of paper based surveys. Can create short quick polls and longer surveys using all standard question types.

To collect information in respect to the public's perceptions and opinions in relation to policy development and project planning.

Quick polls and surveys not only collect valuable feedback it is anticipated they help participants to make the leap to become more active in other engagement activities including forums. The surveys can be set up to provide participants with immediate feedback by showing them the overall results to date once they complete the poll or survey.
Resources required Site support: Set up for a survey is about 2 hr per topic

Oversight of survey: 1 hr a week

Additional costs of site: Annual license $500
Number of members Open to public and anyone can contribute. Do directly promote new surveys to Your City, Your Say community reference groups members who have supplied us with their emails (6,800).
Site traffic (average volume) 569 survey completions over a three-week period for consultation on redevelopment of riverfront site in City.

For more information about using polls and surveys, go to