“Survey” is a generic term that applies to any data collection method such as a questionnaire, evaluation, assessment, audit, poll and testing instrument, etc. Surveys are used for collecting various types of feedback on any topic from a sample audience where the end results will enable organizations to make educated business decisions. A “sample” is usually, but not always, just a fraction of the population being studied. A survey involves:
- Determining what the information need is
- Determining the purpose of the survey
- Determining the goals and objectives of the investigation in a specific, clear-cut and measurable manner
- Determining the target population and the survey sample size
- Determining the mode of the data collection, e.g. mail, e-mail, fax, telephone, face-to-face, or web-based
- Designing a standardized questionnaire and format
- Pre-testing the questionnaire
- Administering the questionnaire
- Performing raw data analysis so that aggregated totals, averages, or other statistics can be compiled
- Summarizing what has been learned in pre-customized, detailed, professional reporting
The size of the sample depends upon the purpose of the study. In a bona fide survey, the sample is not selected haphazardly. It is scientifically chosen so that each person in the population will have a measurable chance of selection. Information is collected by means of standardized procedures so that every individual is asked the same questions in more or less the same way. The survey’s intent is not to describe the particular individuals who are part of the sample, but to obtain a composite profile of the population. The basic idea behind survey methodology is to measure variables by asking people questions and then to examine relationships among the variables.
Surveys vary widely in sample size and sampling design. A distinction can be made between large-scale, small-scale, and cross-cultural studies. Large-scale probability surveys are the ideal. Small-scale surveys sometimes involve non-probability sampling, although those on tight budgets often use smaller samples. Comparative or cross-cultural surveys usually involve 3-6 distinct and different groups and sample sizes.
Survey research design, therefore, can be utilized for two main types of surveys. A questionnaire is usually “self-administered,” which enables respondents to receive and complete a survey on their own, at a physical location, by fax, e-mail, traditional mail or online. The second venue for survey administration is usually the interview, which includes face-to-face communication, in person or via telephone or computer.
The term “survey” actually refers to one or some combination of two procedure(s), e.g. questionnaires and interviews. A questionnaire almost always is self-administered, allowing respondents to fill them out themselves. All the researcher has to do is arrange delivery and collection. An interview typically occurs whenever a researcher and respondent are face-to-face or communicating via some technology like telephone or computer.
Surveys can be a cost-effective type of research. Typically, they are critical tools to capture patterns of behavior and attitude. By crafting a professional, sound survey, a statistician can gather relevant data and analyze it for appropriate conclusions.
At Pivotal Data, the collection and processing of data gathered from survey questionnaires, evaluations, assessments, audits, polls and testing instruments is where we excel. Let us assist you in developing cost-effective solutions for your business.