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#Tip: Here’s how you can password protect a Google form

February 11th, 2014Posted by in Top tips for journalists

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Google’s range of document formats in Drive have a lot of use for journalists, as the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism’s director of education, Jeremy Caplan, describes in this Google doc.

Google forms are particularly useful in crowdsourcing information and automatically organising it into a spreadsheet, so have been used by Pro Publica, for example, to gather information and sources around stories or by Digital First Media to canvas opinion within organisation about future plans.

Google forms are public by default, so if the questions or topics are sensitive for any reason the platform is a bit of a non-starter.

On his Digital Inspiration blog, Amit Agarwal has posted a simple how-to guide on password protecting Google forms from within the form itself. It is not 100 per cent secure, as Agarwal explains, but will deter any passing visitors.

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  • pnatraj

    i just posted a comment at the authors website it does not look it’s a good practise to do it that way, just for the reason that the page source displays the password in plain text.

  • AlastairReid3

    Thanks, you are correct. I hope I made it clear that the password protection is not 100 per cent secure but should reiterate that this method should never be used to protect sensitive information.

    It is useful if you only want certain people who you have already contacted to fill in the form, however, rather than having someone not relevant to the survey stumble upon the page, complete the form and skew the results.

    Thanks for flagging this up though.

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