What is a survey? A survey is a technique or method of data collection where are questioned orally or in writing to a group of people in order to get certain information needed for an investigation. When the question which includes the survey is verbal, this usually supported by an interview in which the person in charge of the survey (interviewer) it makes the person to survey (respondent) questions that allow to obtain the required information, either by following a formal questionnaire with questions put to them all alike (structured questionnaire), or modifying the questions based on the answers you give the respondent (survey unstructured).
What is a Poll?
Whereas when the question which includes the survey is written, this is usually based on a previously designed with questions that will generate the required information, which the interviewer gives the respondent to fill out the questionnaire.
The survey is the technique most commonly used data collection at the time of an investigation because of the various advantages offered to other techniques such as interviews, observation, market testing and focus groups.
The main advantages of the technique of the survey:
1. It can quickly gather a lot of information because of the large number of people and can encompass the variety of questions that may include the questionnaire.
2. It allows for reliable and accurate data because the answers can only be limited to the alternatives proposed.
3. It allows for almost any type of information, including information about past events.
4. Once I made the questionnaire does not require qualified personnel for implementation.
5. The collection, processing and analysis of information is relatively easy to perform.
The survey presents distinct advantages over other techniques of data collection; However, like every technique also it has some disadvantages, among which we highlight:
1. In some cases it can be costly; for example, when you need to train enumerators, move them and pay them a salary or bonus.
2. There is a possibility that respondents give false answers, not remember something or are not able to give precise answers; for example, when unaware of their true motives for choosing a brand or product.
3. There is a possibility that pollsters resort to shortcuts.
4. It does not allow fully analyze complex issues.
5. Drafting the questionnaire properly is no easy task.
The process of conducting a survey starts with the planning of this, including the establishment of the objectives sought to achieve with the survey, the determination of the population or universe to study, identifying the information required for this, questionnaire design and calculation of the sample.
The universe or population survey is the total set of people with similar characteristics which are desired information needed for research; for example, in the case of a survey conducted by a company, the population usually consists of consumers who make up your target market, while information that is required of these is usually made up their tastes, preferences, desires, habits consumption, etc.
A population is usually composed of a large number of people, so not to have to survey all these, thereby saving time and money, usually only it surveys a number of people representative of the population, which is often obtained Through a statistical formula and known as a sample.
Once the survey planned proceeds to make it effective, including the selection, recruitment and training of interviewers, gathering the required information, accounting, coding and analysis of this, and the preparation of the report, if applicable.
Here is a summary of the steps to perform a survey:
- Setting objectives of the survey: first clearly define the objectives that seek to achieve with the survey to be carried out.
- Determination of the population or universe: the population or universe is determined to study (the total set of people which want to obtain information).
- Identifying information to collect: the information to be collected (that information from the population, once analyzed, will achieve the objectives) are identified.
- Questionnaire design. The questionnaire survey (the list of questions that will get the required information) is designed.
- Calculation of the sample: the sample (the number of people representative of the population) to the survey to be calculated.
- Selection, recruitment and training of interviewers: is selected, hired and trained pollsters to gather the information appropriately.
- Collection of information: the required information is collected (the interviewers put to them the questionnaire respondents and record the answers).
- Accounting, coding and data analysis: is recorded, coded and analyzed the data collected.
- Preparation of the report: the report on the results obtained and the conclusions and recommendations to resolve the problem that prompted the survey is made.
In the field of business type best known at the time of survey research is the staff survey, which is one in which the interviewer asks a direct or personal way the respondent; however, there are other types of surveys based on the medium used to collect the information that an enterprise uses, such as the phone survey, mail survey and online survey.
A summary of each of these types of surveys:
In the staff survey pollster addresses directly or personally to the potential respondent, either on the street (for example, in a shopping mall or around a business) or at home or office, asking him to make a survey and , if he accepts, he asks the questions of a previously designed at the same time that registers their questionnaire responses.
The advantages of personal survey to other types of survey are:
- Questionnaires have fewer errors or omissions due to the interviewer guide and advise the respondent in filling them.
- The interviewer can control the degree of sincerity of the respondent's answers.
- It provides more information and that the questionnaire may have several questions, including open questions.
- Can display auxiliary material; for example, the product on which you want to know the opinion of respondents.
While disadvantages to other types of survey are:
- It is slow due to the time it takes to train the enumerators, move to where the respondents (especially when these are scattered geographically), fill out questionnaires, and process data.
- It is the most expensive due to expenses incurred in training, relocations and salaries or bonuses pollsters.
- The presence of the interviewer could restrict or restrain the respondent reducing their level of sincerity in the responses; for example, personal themes.
- Appearance, attitude and ask the questions the interviewer may influence the answers of the respondent.
In the telephone survey pollster communicates by phone with potential respondent asks you to make a survey and, if he accepts, he asks the questions of a previously designed at the same time that registers their questionnaire responses.
The main advantages of the telephone survey are:
- You can cover a large number of people in less time than the staff survey.
- Is faster than the staff survey as contact with the respondent, the collection of information (if the questionnaire is not too extensive), and this processing may occur immediately.
- It is less expensive than personal survey because it requires less pollsters, which in turn require less training and supervision, and need not be transferred.
- The selection, training and monitoring of surveyors is easier to perform.
While its main disadvantages are:
- Pollster has less control over the survey on personal survey.
- The questionnaire should be short, simple and open questions for the survey is short and thus the respondent is more willing to participate.
- Not allowed to show auxiliary material.
The postal survey is a type of survey used less and less because of its low response rate. This pollster sends a questionnaire by mail to potential respondents along with a letter that asks you to complete, and then return by the same means up to be mean some cost.
The main advantages of the postal survey are:
- You can have a wide coverage.
- It is less expensive than personal survey and telephone survey because it requires less pollsters.
- Respondents tend to answer the questionnaires with greater sincerity and objectivity in the staff survey and telephone survey, feeling no pressure from the presence of the interviewer or the time to fill them.
While its main disadvantages are:
- Has a low response rate because nowadays there are few people willing to fill out a questionnaire, put it an envelope and deposit it in a mailbox without compensation.
- It is the slowest due to the time it takes to reach the respondent questionnaire, to be filled by this, and return to the interviewer.
- It has a higher percentage of incorrect or incomplete questionnaires due to the absence of interviewer.
- The respondent's answers could be influenced by other people.
The online survey is a survey type increasingly used mainly because of its speed and low cost. This pollster published a questionnaire on a web page or send it via email to potential respondents while asking him to fill.
The main advantages of the online survey are:
- It is the most coverage can have, being able at the same time a lot of people located anywhere in the world.
- It is the fastest since contact with the respondent, and the collection and processing of information may occur immediately.
- It is the least expensive among other things because it is the least enumerators required.
- It allows the use of images and graphics in questionnaires, making these more attractive and easy to fill.
While its main disadvantages are:
- Sometimes it is not possible to verify the identity of the respondent.
- Sometimes it is not possible to determine whether respondents actually correspond to a representative sample of the population.
- Sometimes respondents give wrong answers or respond more than once to the same questionnaire because it has little control pollster.
- You must have knowledge in web design when designing the questionnaire.