The Best Guide for Designing a Survey Research with Examples

Eric Stelee
Dec 12, 2022
Survey Research with Examples

Survey Research Definition: What is it?

You may be unsure what exactly survey research is, and that's okay! But let's be real; you probably hear about it frequently. And that's because you might have taken a survey while helping your friend with their research paper, or you might have heard about survey results in the news, or simply viewed some of them while scrolling through social media. In any case, we're here to pave your way with this concept, so keep on reading!

Survey research collects data from a group of individuals to gather information about specific topics. Its goal is to uncover insights about your service, brand, or product. Survey research definition goes as: 'Collected information, through the answers to questions provided by a sample of individuals.' The recruitment of participants, data collection, and different instruments are all a part of this research type.

In the survey process, different research strategies can be used: quantitative - using questionnaires with numerical ratings; qualitative - using open-ended questions; or the combination of both techniques - mixed method. This kind of survey research examples and questions are often used in social-psychological experiments to describe and explore human behavior.

One of the key reasons to conduct market research using surveys is to collect specific and essential answers. Depending on the target audience and the purpose of the survey, you can ask these questions in multiple formats. Organizations must determine their objectives before designing the survey questions so they can be structured, planned, and executed flawlessly.

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Why Conduct Survey Research?: Major Benefits

Market researchers often collect data using survey software to administer surveys, which is a very powerful tool. Nowadays, survey solutions exist for every research mode: from paper, phone, and online surveys to the more advanced introduction of mobile surveys. In case survey research is used correctly and implemented properly, marketers can benefit by gaining trustworthy data that can be used to improve the ROI of the organization.

Besides, survey research also has other benefits that should be considered. These are:

  • Minimum Investment - Mobile and online surveys have a very small cost per respondent. Even with the gifts and some incentives provided to the participants in the study, an online survey is still far more economical compared to paper surveys.
  • Convenient - This type of research is so flexible as it can be administered in different modes, such as online, telephone, social media, e-mail, mobile, paper, and even face to face surveys. It can also be conducted remotely for the respondents who are hard to reach.
  • Extensive - Surveys are practical for describing the habits of a large survey population. Other methods can't be used for broad data collection.
  • Reliable for respondents - Surveys are extremely secure as it is anonymous. To get valid respondent answers, they should be honest and know that their information is confidential.

As you already see, conducting survey research can be beneficial in many ways. You can see a survey research paper example online for more clearance or ask our experts ‘write my research paper’ to get your own.

Survey Research Limitations

You already know that surveys can be anything from a little feedback form to intensive in-depth interviews. And also know their advantages, so now let's discuss what disadvantages it has to determine if there is major value in using this kind of approach in your next project.

Survey research limitations can be:

  • Dishonest answers - in a survey questionnaire always exists a risk that people will respond with dishonest and inaccurate answers. Some people are willing to help researchers gain desired conclusions they think the survey is conducted for. You can avoid dishonesty by encouraging respondents and guaranteeing their privacy, but you can't eliminate this problem 100% with no survey instrument.
  • Misinterpretation - If you don't make the questions as simple as possible, everyone can understand them differently which results in inaccurate answers and low response rates. Even though the text may seem simple to you, others can struggle to grasp the meaning of some questions. To avoid this trouble, you have to create very simple questions.
  • Unanswered questions - In questionnaires sometimes questions are left unanswered if they aren't required. This especially happens with the open ended question, multiple choice questions are way more easy and fast to be answered. The easy way to get around this problem is to use an online survey tool that makes answering a question a must at each step. But in this case, you have to create a good survey questionnaire and make it short and on point.

Surveys sometimes have a poor reputation, which leads to response rates reduction. Part of the reason for this is that everyone tries to create surveys online as it's a low-cost way to collect data. That's why researchers are starting to use the rewards-based system to get higher participation and response rates.

Survey Research Methods

Depending on what kind of results market researchers want to get, there are a couple of survey research methods that can be used. Some of them may have significant differences depending on how many respondents they get, response options, survey flow, etc. These methods are interviews, mail-in surveys, focus groups, and online surveys. Each has different characteristics and customer satisfaction levels. So let's discuss each survey research method separately.

research methods

Interviews

What do you think - how many types of interviews exist? There are more than most people think. An interview is a qualitative survey research method that involves asking people open-ended questions to collect elicit data on a certain subject. Interviews are similar to focus groups for collecting information from the target market but are completely different. Interviews are conducted from a population sample, and their conversational tone is the main characteristic they exhibit. Interviews offer the researchers a platform to prompt their respondents and gain input in the desired area.

Interviews have three different fundamental types:

  • Structured interview - also known as standardized interview, is significantly quantitative. Questions in this survey design process are pre-decided according to the required information.
  • A semi-structured interview is also a guided conversation between the researcher and participants, but flexibility is offered for the researchers as well. They can follow an idea, take advantage of the entire interview, and not be guided by structure from the beginning until the end.
  • Unstructured interview - also called in-depth interview, the goal is to create a bond with the respondents. Conversations are held with the purpose in mind and with no guidelines to follow.

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Mail-in Surveys

As people are immigrating more to the virtual world, surveys are adapting as well because it is in researchers' interest to adopt the best practices. This is why online surveys are growing rapidly.

We're sure you get the surveys in your email, too; you just don't open most of them cause they are already annoying you. Of course, it must bother you more if you are a college student, but at least you know what an email survey is. Also, if you are here because your thesis deadline is getting closer, we got you. This thesis paper writing service will get it done for you in a blink, with a student-oriented price.

The mail-in survey is a data gathering method to collect quantitative data using questionnaires or surveys sent to targeted participants via email. Participants can answer these survey questions directly over email.

Email survey is one of the most used survey research methods for gathering information. Therefore, sending surveys via email became more convenient for the respondents. Also, in the email, you can add a message to provide more details about the survey questions to the participants.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a research method that collects data through group interaction. There are a small number of carefully selected people in the group, and they discuss the given topic. This survey research method is used to identify how people think and behave, which throws light on what, how, and why questions.

Focus groups can be used in three different ways in the survey design:

  • Stand-alone means the focus group is the sole and main source of the data.
  • As part of the multi-method design - several study methods are used, and none of the methods determine the use of another.
  • Supplementary - it's used to enhance the alternative means of information gathering. It's like a precursor to a quantitative stage.

Focus group discussions are effective for new product research or testing different concepts. They are efficient because researchers can digest the points said by participants. As they consider the implication of the issues raised, new ideas may be sparked which would remain untapped in a personal interview.

Online Surveys

People tend to make their life easier, which also includes their jobs. So researchers are doing the same as well. Now they can just send survey questions from their desktops and laptops. It means it got easier for the respondents because they could answer these online survey questions whenever the time is the best for them.

The online survey is a survey research method where a set of survey questions is sent out to targeted participants, and the members can respond to this questionnaire through the world wide web. People receive online surveys from different mediums like email, social media, embedded websites, etc. Therefore, organizations must choose more advanced online survey platforms to perform better for efficiently collected data.

A researcher can collect effective information from the surveys only when the purpose of the survey is justified with the proper survey questions. Then, lessons can be learned from the previous surveys till you start working on a new one.

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Steps for Conducting a Survey Research

Survey research helps unveil people's opinions and gain data on their behaviors. Analyzing effective survey results leads to finding and identifying growth opportunities. A survey altogether can generate a large amount of information in a short period. It's the most useful way to identify customers' preferences, characteristics, and other valuable details.

If you are wondering what the right way to conduct an effective survey is, you are in the right place to find out about it. In the next paragraphs, we'll explain and guide you on surveying the right target audience.

conducting a survey research

Identify Your Research Goals

Before starting to think about designing your survey, the first thing you have to do is to identify your aim. Of course, every step is equally important for a successful outcome, but if you want something to be successful in the end, you have to start from the right beginning, right?

Identifying the survey aims include finding the right audience and creating the appropriate questions. If you try to sell your product to the wrong target audience or ask the wrong questions, you won't get the outcomes you were expecting.

When identifying the goals, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions, like What information are you gathering? Is it broad or specific? Is it for a broad or particular audience? The answers to these questions will define the goals of your survey results.

It's a no-brainer to get the answers if you don't know how to use them properly. Once the aims are determined, you'll get a clear view of what you want to learn, and it will be easier for survey designers to create a proper questionnaire.

Much research is held about food from restaurant management and other organizations. It's a common theme in college too. Therefore, it's also important to determine your aims on that topic. If you haven't decided on the right topic for your food research, we got you on this one too. Choose one from food research paper topics, and your problem is solved.

Define Your Target Audience

When conducting a survey, you need to know exactly from whom you gather the information. The target audience is the demographic group that participates in your research. To be provided with accurate, no biased questions and answers, you have to narrow down a specific segment to define the group.

This group can be narrow or broad, depending on your desired survey results. For example, the population of California or the customers of a specific product from age 20 to 35. As it's rarely possible to research a whole population, a sample is surveyed, representing the population. The larger the sample is, the more valid the survey results.

Choose Data Collecting Method

One of the important steps in conducting research is to precisely determine the method you are using. We already discussed the methods above, so you know what to consider while choosing one. It can be costly, sample size, location, types of questions, etc.

If you want a cost-effective survey held very easily online, you can choose mail-in or online surveys. It's the most useful way to reach a broad audience, but in this case, try to design multiple-choice and closed-ended questions because if the respondent gets annoyed with the questionnaire, she will just quit it.

If you are working on a small sample size, it's better to do an interview, as it allows you to gather more information. You can conduct it by phone or in person.

Compose Questions

Research questions play an important role in survey outcomes. When survey designers work on questionnaire development, they must decide what questions to ask. It's relevant to consider different factors to guarantee the survey's success.

Before choosing what questions to ask, you have to decide what type of questions you will include in your survey. The types of questions are:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Demographic questions
  • Open-ended questions
  • Closed-ended questions
  • Rating scale questions
  • Likert scale question
  • Double-barreled questions
  • Ranking questions, etc.

While composing questions, you must carefully consider how to formulate each. They need to be simple and include enough information to get answered accurately. If you choose closed-ended questions, make sure answers cover all possibilities. Make all questions precise with no vague words. Maybe your own words seem simple to you, but they may not be clear to someone else. Also, while organizing questions, make sure they are in logical order. Don't start with difficult and complex questions; put easy and closed-ended questions in the beginning.

Administer the Survey and Collect Data

If you conduct self-administered surveys, keep in mind to determine the number of responses you require. Then, spread the survey and monitor your response rates, which you can calculate by dividing the number of people who responded by the number of people in the sample.

Collecting data is also a very significant step in conducting research. After you gather all the responses, you should clean them and remove all inaccurate answers. Different computer programs can help you sort out the data and then analyze it. For example, closed-ended questions have to be analyzed statistically, and open-ended questions require a bucketing approach. Other methods are filtering and cross-tabulation.

Data will automatically be compiled if you use an online survey tool for your research. You only have to identify trends and patterns in them.

Prepare a Report Based on the Data Analysis

The last step in your survey is to create a report on survey results. The data you analyzed in the previous step needs to be translated into useful information that corresponds with the goals you identified at the beginning of the research.

Your report needs to conclude different kinds of information to describe the survey process perfectly. It should consist of: Your goals, method of survey and distribution, methods of analysis, how you selected the sample, and survey results. Also, include if there was any problem during the survey and how it influenced the process. At the end of the report, write the conclusion and recommendations.

Now you know all the steps on how to conduct a survey and then how to analyze it. Then, if conducting research still doesn't seem very fun for you, you can choose an essay title and work on them for your college papers.

Example of Survey Research Questions

When you learn something theoretically, it may seem easy, but using it in practice might be challenging. To avoid all the hurdles, let's see the example of survey research questions.

Examples of demographic questions:

What is your age?

  • 0-20
  • 20-35
  • 35-50
  • 50+

What is the degree or level of your education?

  • High school
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Master's Degree
  • Ph.D. or higher

Are you married?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to say

What is your current employment status?

  • Full-time employee
  • Part-time employee
  • Retired
  • Seeking opportunities

Examples of open-ended questions:

  1. What do you like the most about this product?
  2. Does this product have anything that disappointed you?
  3. Where did you hear about the product first?
  4. What would you recommend to improve our product?
  5. How did you feel about our customer service?

Examples of closed-ended questions:

  1. How do you go to work?
  • By bus
  • On foot
  • By car
  1. Do you use public transport often?
  • Yes
  • No
  1. Is math your favorite subject?
  • Yes
  • No

Client questionnaire survey research example (template) with Likert scale

  1. I would recommend this brand to others
  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  1. I have had a positive experience with your customer service
  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  1. I would purchase from this brand again
  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  1. From 1 to 5, how satisfied were you with your experience with us?
  • 0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  1. I am satisfied with the price
  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

These are the examples of survey research that can be helpful for you while conducting the research. After reading through the above, you can now decide which type of questions is suitable for your survey design and choose depending on your topic.

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