The Advantages and Disadvantages of Surveys

There are a variety of reasons as to why you might need a survey to collect data for your study. Perhaps you need to gain input from a certain market as they may favor from the outcome of your research, or maybe the information they provide can help you gain a deeper understanding of the topic. Regardless of your intention, be sure to consider the following survey advantages and disadvantages before you start.

Advantages

Low Costs: Surveys are one of the most inexpensive ways to gather data from a large audience, especially when administered online. Most of the money is spent to pay for the production of the survey questionnaire, such as in bulk printing and paid online surveys, to ensure a high level of general capacity in representing a large sample of people. You can also opt to use an online survey builder that offers its services for free to save on costs.Convenience: Face-to-face interviews can be very time-consuming. Fortunately, surveys may be conducted digitally thanks to modern technology. The questionnaire can be sent via email or fax, or they can be administered through the use of the Internet. Imagine being able to garner data from people around the globe at the comfort of your own office space. Not only does it allow easy analysis of results, but it also makes it a lot easier for you to visualize the overall findings of your survey.Anonymity: One of the things that hinder respondents from providing honest information is the fear of tarnishing their own image. In most cases, people want their identity to be kept a secret in order for them to be frank with their replies. This concealment puts respondents at ease and encourages them to be more truthful as they respond to your survey. A sense of anonymity and privacy will be great for surveys that cover sensitive matters that not everyone will feel comfortable enough to share in the open. In doing so, you have a better chance of generating accurate results for your study.

Disadvantages

Dishonest Answers: No matter how hard you try to avoid it, respondents may not be 100% truthful with their answers or opinions. This could be due to privacy protection or social desirability bias. Paid surveys also prompt respondents to lie just to get the survey done for the sake of it. Thus, necessary precautions must be taken to make sure your data stays correct. One way to prevent dishonesty among participants is by assuring them that their privacy is valued and that personal identification will not be possible. Interpretation Issues: Misinterpretation is a common problem when it comes to asking questions. That’s because we tend to interpret a statement based on our personal understanding. The questions that we ask will always be taken within the context of how it is delivered. Without having someone there to explain the questionnaire in its exact sense, researchers are bound to generate subjective results from their audience. The best way to address this problem is to construct simple questions that are easy to grasp. Possible Inappropriateness of Questions: The major downside of a survey questionnaire is how it lacks personalization. Questions are always standardized by the researcher before they are distributed to the desired subjects. This is done to accommodate the general population and make sure that answers may be analyzed in the most efficient way possible. This is particularly challenging with surveys that focus on variables that deal with moods, attitudes, and emotions. It’s nearly impossible to fully capture the emotional response of a person without administering your survey in a face-to-face encounter. This may not be appropriate for all your participants, so be sure to give it some thought before you begin writing your survey questions.

Research Survey Samples

The following samples are surveys used for the purpose of research in different fields.

Tips for Creating an Effective Survey

You don’t have to be an expert to create a survey that will generate the best possible data for your research. While there may be thousands of books and articles that discuss how surveys should be written, if you don’t have the time to run through all of them at once, here are some practices to consider when building the perfect survey.

Keep questions relevant. As you plan your survey, start by identifying the type of data that needs to be collected. This will help you construct questions that focus on what you want to obtain from participants to complete your study. Your purpose for creating the survey is to gain important insights about a particular matter, so it’s only natural that every question plays a direct part in fulfilling your research objectives. Make it short and simple. Long surveys can be intimidating to most people, especially when it jumps from one topic to another in the most confusing manner. The problem with answering a survey that’s unreasonably long is how it’s likely to scare away potential respondents and cause people to lose interest as they shift through its pages. Hence, make sure to follow a logical order of items when organizing your questionnaire. Not only will it encourage a respondent to continue answering, but it will also hasten the process for a quicker response. Ask direct questions. Poorly worded questions leave room for misunderstandings and misinterpretations. This will only make your survey less precise and less useful. It’s important to be cautious about how you ask your questions so that respondents may find it easy to answer. Another red flag would be stuffing two ideas into one question. This adds complexity to your statement, making it difficult for respondents to provide accurate information. Thus, go straight to the point with your questions and ensure that your message is carried out as clearly as possible. Rephrase Yes/No questions whenever possible. Yes/No questions can be quite tricky for people who have a neutral response to certain scenarios. Fortunately, you can always try to rework your phrases by using response scales as an alternative. This will help you acquire richer data for your study by offering direction and intensity to the options available. Speak the appropriate language. A survey must be tailored to the preferences of its audience. In other words, you need to use language and terminology that your target respondents would understand. Use technical jargon only when necessary; otherwise, simplify your words and sentences for the majority to grasp. There’s no point in going deep into your vocabulary if it fails to send the right message to its readers. However, try not over to overdo it in a way that would change its interpretation. Do a test drive. What works for you might not fit well with others. It’s always best to conduct a test run on your survey by having at least five people answer it prior to distribution. You can evaluate their response and collect a separate feedback on your survey for further analysis. This can help you catch and correct any problems before you invest too much of your time and energy on a flawed survey.

Research Survey FAQs

We answer a few frequently asked questions about surveys below:

What is the best survey method?

There are several ways to gather data for your study. Choosing the right collection method is essential in making sound decisions for the development of your research topic. In-person interviews, telephone surveys, mailed surveys, and online questionnaires each have their own share of pros and cons that researchers must consider before employing their preferred method. Your target demographic, budget, accessibility, and other related resources necessary to conduct the survey play a significant role in its success. Thus, be sure to weigh your options carefully to generate the best results.

How can I increase my survey response rate?

Creating a survey is merely the start of an extensive process, as getting people to actually take it proves to be one of the biggest challenges for many research groups. Not only do you need to get a person’s attention, but you also have to motivate them to complete the survey. One technique you can apply is to tell your respondents how much you appreciate their participation. This shows how much you value their feedback as well as the time they spent to respond to your survey. You can even try offering incentives to help boost completion rates among participants. It’s important to give people a reason to answer your survey despite their busy schedules.

When to use surveys in research?

When you need to collect data from a large sample of individuals, surveys are considered to be an effective approach. The questions asked in the survey are designed according to the kind of information you need for your study. This allows you to quickly gain general details about a population to analyze for a business or academic intention. Surveys are best suited for answering certain research questions that you might need to better understand your market and strengthen your claims.