Use Google Forms to make a Pivot Table

When students create a survey, they will likely ask demographic questions about the people answering the questionnaire. Demographics include data about a person such as age, gender, grade, class, or role such as student, parent, or teacher. These factors may influence what a person does, thinks, or believes.

  • Do grade 6 students have a different opinion than grade 7 students?
  • Do boys pick the same answers as girls? You can find out!

The answers of each subgroup can be compared using a pivot table. A pivot table allows you to place data into rows and columns to summarize information in a spreadsheet.

To create the pivot table, drag a multiple choice question into a row and the demographic question into a column. You will then get the program to count how many people in each subgroup selected a particular answer to the multiple choice question using COUNTA.

For example:

Make pivot table in Google Forms

  1. Open the spreadsheet with the responses.
  2. From the Data menu, select Pivot table report.
  3. Add the choices from the Multiple Choice question to the pivot table:
    1. In the Rows section, click Add field.
    2. Select the multiple choice question.

    multiple choice question

  4. Add the subgroups from the Demographic question to the pivot table:
    1. In the Columns section, click Add field.
    2. Select the demographic question.

    question

  5. Count the number of people that picked each choice:
    1. In the Values section, click Add field.
    2. Select the multiple choice question.
    3. multiple choice question

    4. In the Report Editor pane, click the Summarize by: arrow. Select COUNTA.
    5. counta

      The default is SUM. This is used for numbers. Your data is text.
      You must use COUNTA because this formula can count each text choice.

    6. The table should look something like this:
    7. pivot table

  6. Analyze your data:
    1. What demographic question did you use?
    2. What were the subgroups or options list for the demographic question?
    3. What multiple choice question did you use?
    4. What were the choices for the multiple choice question?
    5. Were the answers the SAME for each subgroup? If no, what were the differences?
    6. If the answers are similar you can generalize the findings to the population because demographic data did not influence answers. If the answers are VERY different you may need to adjust your conclusions when applying them to the population. Does this information change your research conclusions?
  7. To return to the spreadsheet, click Form Responses 1 at the bottom of the window.

Pivot tables allow you to analyze selected parts of your data to make conclusions. Do the general summary conclusions apply to the entire population? Or, does the pivot table let you see how specific portions of the population show significantly different results?

Christa Love

About Christa Love

Christa Love, Vice President - Christa Love has a passion for education and technology. A graduate from Brock University she has an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, Bachelor of Education in Primary and Junior divisions, and Masters of Education in the area of Curriculum Studies. Her work at TechnoKids Inc. began more than ten years ago as an instructor at a local learning center. Since that time she has operated the summer camp program, taught at the research and development center at John Knox Christian School, trained educators throughout the province on issues related to technology integration, and overseen the curriculum development of hundreds of technology projects. In recent years, Christa has become the vice president of TechnoKids Inc.