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What Is a Survey?

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de Guide


A survey is a data collection tool used to gather information about individuals. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using surveys in psychological research.

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Question: What Is a Survey?

A survey is a data collection tool used to gather information about individuals. Surveys are commonly used in psychology research to collect self-report data from study participants. A survey may focus on factual information about individuals, or it might aim to collect the opinions of the survey takers.

A survey can be administered in a couple of different ways. In one method known as a structured interview, the researcher asks each participant the questions. In the other method known as a questionnaire, the participant fills out the survey on his or her own.

Surveys are generally standardized to ensure that they have reliability and validity. Standardization is also important so that the results can be generalized to the larger population.

Advantages of Using Surveys

  • Surveys allow researchers to collect a large amount of data in a relatively short period of time.

  • Surveys are less expensive than many other data collection techniques.

  • Surveys can be created quickly and administered easily.

  • Surveys can be used to collect information on a wide range of things, including personal facts, attitudes, past behaviors and opinions.

Disadvantages of Using Surveys

  • Poor survey construction and administration can undermine otherwise well-designed studies.

  • The answer choices provided on a survey may not be an accurate reflection of how the participants truly feels.

  • While random sampling is generally used to select participants, response rates can bias the results of a survey.

Types of Survey Data Collection

Surveys can be implemented in a number of different ways. Chances are good that you have participated in a number of different market research surveys in the past.

Some of the most common ways to administer survey include:

  • Mail - An example might include an alumni survey distributed via direct mail by your alma mater.

  • Telephone - An example of a telephone survey would be a market research call about your experiences with a certain consumer product.

  • Online - Online surveys might focus on your experience with a particular retailer, product or website.

  • At home interviews - The U.S. Census is a good example of an at-home interview survey administration.
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Kendra Cherry

Kendra Cherry
Psychology Guide

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