A Survey is defined is a research method used for collecting data from a pre-defined group of respondents to gain information and insights on various topics of interest. Surveys have a variety of purposes and can be carried out in many ways depending on the methodology chosen and the objectives to be achieved.
The data is usually obtained through the use of standardized procedures whose purpose is to ensure that each respondent is able to answer the questions at a level playing field to avoid biased opinions that could influence the outcome of the research or study. A survey involves asking people for information through a questionnaire, which can be distributed on paper, although with the arrival of new technologies it is more common to distribute them using digital media such as social networks, email, QR codes or URLs.
The need to observe or research facts about a situation leads us to conduct a survey. As we mentioned at the beginning, a survey is a method of gathering information.
So what do you need to conduct a survey?
First, a sample, also referred to as audience, is needed which should consist of a series of survey respondent’s data with required demographic characteristics, who can relevantly answer your survey questions and provide the best insights. Better the quality of your survey sample, better will be your response quality and better your insights.
Surveys come in many different forms and have a variety of purposes, but they have common underlying characteristics. The basic characteristics of a survey are:
Effective survey questions are the cornerstone for the success of any survey and subsequently, any research study. Whether it an email survey, SMS survey, web intercept survey or a mobile app survey, the single common denominator that determines how effectively you are able to collect accurate and complete survey responses is your survey questions and their types.
Multiple choice questions are the most common type of survey questions, in which, some of the popular question types are: dichotomous question, semantic differential scale question, rank order questions, rating scale questions and open ended questions .
To conduct a survey, it is important to plan the type of survey to ensure you get the optimum number of responses required for your survey. It could be a mix of interviews and survey questions or a questionnaire. Interviews could be telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews, online interviews and questionnaires can be mall surveys or web surveys. The underlying difference between a survey and a questionnaire is that a questionnaire may or may not be delivered in the form of a survey, but a survey always consists of a questionnaire.
A sample is a selection of respondents from a population in such a manner that the sample represents the total population as closely as possible. Once you have determined your sample, the total number of individuals in that particular sample is the sample size.
Selecting a sample size depends on the end objective of your research study. It should consist of a series of survey respondents data with required demographic characteristics, who can relevantly answer your survey questions and provide the best insights. If the quality of the sample for survey is good, the response quality and insights are better.
Survey methodology studies the in-depth sampling of individual units from a population and administering data collection techniques on that sample. It includes instruments or processes that ask different question types to a predefined sample, to conduct data-collection and increase the survey response rate.
The two distinctive member types are in a survey methodology are, professionals in the field that focus on empirical survey errors and others that work to design surveys and reduce them. it is therefore both a scientific field and a profession. The primary tasks of a survey methodologist while administering a survey is to identify and create samples, validate test questions, select the mode to administer questions and validate methods for data collection, statistical analysis and data reporting.
Surveys can be administered by the time they take to complete, the two types are:
There are different ways of survey distribution. Some of the most commonly used methods are:
Surveys can be distributed using one, some or a mix of the above methods depending on the basis of the research objective and the resources being used for any particular survey. Many factors play a part in the mode of distribution of surveys like cost, research study type, flexibility of questions, time to collect responses, statistical analysis to be run on data and willingness of the respondent to take part in the survey.
You can conduct a telephone or email survey and then make a selection of respondents for a face-to-face interview. Survey data are sometimes also obtained through questionnaires filled out by respondents in groups, for example, a school class or a group of shoppers in a shopping center.
You can also classify the surveys by their content, being able to use open or closed questions to know, for example, opinions, attitudes, details of a fact, habits, experiences for a later classification and analysis of the obtained results.
In the same way you can use some sample survey question ; ask for the classification of different alternatives. You can do a very short survey, with some questions that can take five minutes or less to answer, or it can be a very long survey that requires one hour or more of the time of the interviewee. For example, Those who need to know in depth behavior or attitudes of people, prefer to use, in addition to surveys a panel or an online community.
An online survey is set of structured questions, that the respondent completes over the internet, generally through filling out a form. An online survey is an easier way to reach out to the respondents as it is less time consuming than the traditional way of gathering information through one to one interaction and also less expensive.
Online surveys can differ in length and format used. The data is collected and stored in a database which is later evaluated by an expert in the field.
As an incentive for respondents to fill out online surveys, businesses offer them with rewards like gift cards, reward points that they can redeem for goods or services later, free airline miles, discount at gas stations etc.
Online surveys with rewards is a win-win situation for both, businesses and respondents. The businesses or organizations get valuable data from a controlled environment, for the market research and for the respondents it’s a humble gesture from businesses to participate in the survey and spend their valuable time.
Online surveys are one of the less time consuming methods to reach out to your target audiences, but that’s not the only advantage of online survey, let us understand what are the other advantages of using online survey:
As we explained before, a survey usually has its beginnings when a person, company or organization faces a need for information and there is no existing data that is sufficient. Take into account the following recommendations:
Apart from the above mentioned points, it is important to remember that when you ask survey questions based on past events and experience, you will have to rely and trust on the memory of the respondents. This is a single “assumed” variable in any survey that seeks to understand user behaviour through past experiences and events.
The person who conducts a survey is usually called an interviewer or a pollster, whether they make a phone call, appear at the door of your house or at the mall to do their work. Those who attend a panel, or online panel, can also be called administrator.
Those who are responsible for performing this task, preferably should be open people, patients, who have the ability to approach strangers to engage in a conversation, and carry out the survey according to the instructions received.
These people are not those who bear the full responsibility of conducting a survey, there are also those who are dedicated to design it, determine the sample, write the questions, supervise the collection and analysis of the data and write the corresponding reports of the results obtained.
On the other hand, if you are conducting an online survey, all you have to do is create, send and automatically analyse the surveys from respondents. A market research analyst is typically the person who creates and send out these online surveys to be answered by respondents.
When you conduct a survey, you must have access to its analytics. While manual surveys based on pen and paper or excel sheets require additional man-power to be analysed through experience data analysts, it becomes much simpler when using an online survey platform. Here, analysis is done automatically because survey creation and distribution is done digitally as well.
Coming to the privacy aspect of data treatment, this might be a matter of concern for respondents who decide to participate in a survey. However, the privacy of the information collected is guaranteed or their authorization is requested to make use of it for research purposes. Do not forget that it is also a question of ethics, to give the best use to the data obtained and use them only for what is required.
It is important for a researcher to be able to conduct surveys using the right questions and the right medium to administer and track responses. QuestionPro is a platform that helps not only to create but also to deploy different types of survey. We have more than 300+ types of survey template and survey examples including:
It is very simple and quick to make a survey the questionpro way. Just follow these steps are you are ready to deploy the survey: