How to Conduct Surveys
Published byat August 16th, 2021 , Revised On February 8, 2023
Surveys are a popular primary data collection method and can be used in various types of research. A researcher formulates a survey that includes questions relevant to the research topic. The participants are selected, and the questionnaire is distributed among them, either online or offline. It consists of either open or close-ended questions.
Objectives and Uses of Survey
- Surveys are conducted for the planning of national, regional, or local programs.
- They help to study the perceptions of the community related to the topic.
- Surveys are used in market research, social sciences, and commercial settings.
- They can also be used for various other disciplines, from business to anthropology.
- Surveys are frequently used in quantitative research.
Guidelines for Conducting a Survey
Before conducting a survey, you should follow these steps:
- Construct a clear and concise research problem statement focusing on what is being investigated and why the research is carried out.
- Formulate clear and unbiased questions for the survey.
- Test the questions randomly on volunteer groups and make necessary changes f required.
- Determine the mode of survey distribution.
- Schedule the timing of the survey.
- Use a professional tone, a scholarly approach, and an academic format for your survey.
- Ensure the privacy and anonymity of the participants.
- Avoid offensive languages or biased questions.
- Take the opinion of the participants.
- Inform the participants about the survey.
- Calculate the time required for gathering data, analysing, and reporting it.
How to Conduct a Survey?
Step 1: Set the Aims of your Research
Before conducting research, you need to form a clear picture of the outcomes of your study. Create a research question and devise the goals of your research. Based on the requirements of your research, you need to select the participants. It would help if you decided whether your survey would be online or offline.
You need to select a specific group of participants for your research. The participants can be:
- A group of college students
- Hospital staff
- A group of people in public places
- Customers or employs a specific company
- A group of people based on their age, gender, and profession, etc.
Sometimes it’s impossible to survey the entire population individually if it’s a large population. It requires a lot of time and effort. In such cases, you can select a group of people from the selected community, and it’s called the sample.
- 50 customers of a company
- 40 students of class 12
- 30 boys and 30 girls of age 14-15
You can also use an online survey if your target population is large. It helps in getting the maximum number of responses within a short time.
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Step 2: Select the Type of Survey
|Type of survey||Definition||Pros||Cons|
|Questionnaire||This survey is used in descriptive research in which information is collected by distributing a written questionnaire among the participants online, in person, mail. The participants are asked to fill out the questions.||
|Interviews||The participants are asked questions in person or on the phone, and the researcher records the responses.||
|Online/Web/Electronic Survey||Computers, laptops and mobile phones play a significant role in this kind of survey. A set of questions is sent through email and texts to a selected target sample, and participants respond to the questions.||
|Rating Scales||It includes closed-ended questions to record the participants’ responses on a specific service/product or topic. Participants provide their feedback by choosing the rating scale as per their experience, whether it’s very good, average, or below average. You might have seen such kind of rating scales on many shopping sites.||
|Checklists||It includes a series of statements to evaluate the performance of an individual, organization, or service. Participants need to tick the statements according to their observations and experiences.||
Example of the rating scale:
enjoy reading paper books more than reading e-books
enjoy reading paper books more than reading e-books
How do you feel about your ability to find a career option according to your goals?
Step 3: Prepare a List of Questions
You can use various types of questions in your survey, such as open-ended, closed-ended, and multiple-choice questions. Most of the participants like short multiple-choice questions. Use simple and clear language to avoid misunderstanding. Avoid offensive language.
If you are using checklists in your survey to get feedback on a specific feature, service, or product, then write the statements based on your evaluation aims.
- Questions with answers such as (yes/no, agree/disagree, true/ false)
- Rating scales with points or stars to measure the satisfaction of the people.
- A list of questions with multiple options with either a single answer option or various answers.
Open-ended questions require the participants’ individual answers according to their opinion, experience, and choice. The answers can be either one word or in sentences.
- Tell me about your relationship with your boss?
- Why did you choose this answer?
- What’s your opinion on women’s education?
- How do you see the future?
- What is a success, according to you?
Step 4: Invite the Participants
You can try out many ways to invite the participants to your survey. You can inform them through emails, texts. You can post your survey on social media or design a banner to display on websites to grab the respondents’ attention.
Step 5: Record the Responses of the Participants
One of the essential steps is to gather responses from the participants. In most cases, people don’t pay attention to the survey questions or leave them incomplete. You can offer some rewards to increase the response rates of your participants. You can also promise to share the outcomes with your participants to improve their response rate.
Step 6: Distribute the Survey Questions
You need to decide the sample size (number of participants and responses required) according to your research requirements. It will help if you determine whether you are going to conduct an online survey or offline.
Step 7: Analyse the Results
You can store the data in tabulated forms, charts, graphs, or you can take out a print of the data in the form of a spreadsheet. You can use text analysis to analyze the findings of your questionnaire survey. You can perform a thematic analysis for the interview surveys. However, the information on the online surveys is stored automatically, and you can analyze it directly.
Step 8: Write your Report
The final step is to write a report for your survey. You need to ensure that you have met the objectives of your research or not.
In the introduction, you need to explain your survey’s whole procedure by mentioning the time and place of the survey conducted. Mention the methods of analysis you used in your survey.
A successful survey represents reliable feedback to the survey questions as evidence of your research. If you have online surveys, the responses will help you measure the participant’s satisfaction and positive or negative opinions.
In the section of discussion and conclusion, you can explain your findings by using supporting evidence and concluding the results by answering your research questions.