The Many Types of Surveys for Gathering Information

How vital are surveys? It depends on who you ask. If you’re a company, they can be crucial for obtaining knowledge and making decisions. For instance, if one of your products has low customer satisfaction rates, it’s time to make changes.

On the other hand, surveys are less imperative if you’re an individual but still express opinions and ideas or find solutions to problems in their lives.

Surveys help organizations and institutions learn more about what people think to understand themselves and their customers or clients better.

Related: Poll & Survey Software | Types of Polls

What Is A Survey?

A survey consists of questions whose purpose is to get data from a specific group of people. The questions are in the form of a list used mostly in research subjects. The surveys can be done through phone calls, by mailing the questions, the internet, or face to face.

Surveys differ from polls in that polls ask one simple question while surveys dwell on multiple questions. A poll will have multiple choice questions where you choose one answer from the provided list.

Why Are Surveys Important?

1. Surveys Answer The Question “Why”

Surveys are essential as a way to answer the question Why?

A survey provides an in-depth look at what people think, say they do, and how they feel. Surveys allow respondents to voice their opinions on many topics.

Thus, there is a greater understanding of why people make certain decisions or take specific actions – which often can’t be determined by following one person’s life through observation alone.

2. Surveys Provide Hard Numbers

The most valuable benefit of surveys is that they provide complex numbers and statistics. The data(numbers and statistics) gives researchers the ability to make comparisons between different groups, how one group relates to another, or even what people believe in finding trends in society as a whole.

3. Surveys Unlock The Question “What”

While surveys offer a lot of advantages, there are also some disadvantages.

One disadvantage is that surveys sometimes ask leading questions with predetermined answers. As a result, respondents have no choice but to give those responses because they cannot think about their solutions or provide other information.

Surveys can also be time-consuming for the respondent and the researcher, who must compile all of this data into an understandable document.

4. Provide Benchmarks

Surveys are also beneficial because they provide benchmarks.

This means that survey respondents can tell researchers what their previous thoughts and perceptions were before an event occurred, like a change in management or the introduction of new technology, to determine how it affects people’s opinions on this type of issue.

5. Offer A Voice

Survey questions are often open-ended, meaning that they allow respondents to answer in their own words.

Thus, it provides a voice for the survey participant’s opinions and allows them to be heard by an organization or institution that may have never considered what these people think before.

How To Conduct Surveys

Since there is so much variation in the type and purpose of surveys, they must be adequately conducted for accurate results.

There are three steps when conducting a survey:

Planning The Survey Content – Planning includes developing questions with objectives in mind and thinking through how respondents should be chosen if there isn’t enough data from past research.

Preparing Respondents For Participation– This step involves informing potential participants about what needs to happen during the process, including acknowledging privacy concerns and providing instructions on how to complete the questionnaire.

Collecting Data– This step includes following up with respondents to make sure they completed the survey and choosing a method for analyzing data, such as through statistics software.

How To Choose Which Survey Method Is Best For Your Research?

When deciding on what survey method you want to use, you need three things: your objectives, available time/resources, and knowledge about your sample.

  • Objectives: What information are you looking for?
  • Resources: How much time and money do you have available to invest in the survey design, data collection, analysis, etc.?
  • Sample Knowledge: Do you know what methods might be best for your particular samples, such as generational differences or language barriers.

Types Of Surveys

There are many types of surveys. Some target a specific audience, like the types of people affected by an event. Others are used to gauge general opinions about products or issues on behalf of many different groups.


Interviews are conversations conducted with a person to get their thoughts on a specific topic or issue. They may be done in person, over the phone, or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.


  • In-person interviews allow for a more in-depth conversation and will enable the interviewer to observe emotional responses. Plus, you don’t have to wait for the respondent’s answer.
  • They can be done at any time and are very flexible. For example, if there is a deadline, the interviewee may agree to do it then if they have not already completed their opinion on the topic or issue by that point in time.


  • They can be difficult to schedule and more costly in comparison with other types of surveys. Plus, they require a lot of preparation on behalf of the interviewer.
  • Interviews are time-consuming, as they may need to be conducted with several people. It is also challenging to get honest answers from interviewees when using this method because of social desirability response bias.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are an excellent way to get a lot of information from people on specific topics or issues.

They were designed for these purposes and are more often guided by trained facilitators who direct the conversation to ensure that they have enough information to move forward with their research, business decisions, or other goals.


  • A researcher can do focus groups at any time without much notice, which is perfect when deadlines need attention quickly, so you don’t miss out on essential observations about your product or service offerings.
  • You also do not have to find one person per topic because many opinions are collected all in one place, making it easier than ever before.


  • Respondent fatigue is an issue that can make the respondent less likely to answer questions or engage in discussion because of how many times they might be asked about what items mean, such as yes/ no responses.
  • There are some expenses associated with focus groups that you must plan to ensure the budget will cover them. It can also be challenging because certain participants may dominate conversations or push their opinions to make things less organized and more chaotic.

Panel Sampling

With this form of surveying, panels of a specific population are chosen at random to answer questions.

These groups can be made up of different people with the same occupation, gender, age-range, etc., and they will share their opinions on topics or products given to them in advance.


  • Panel sampling is typically a more straightforward type of surveying because it usually only involves one person per group, which means less work is involved for the organization conducting the survey. However, one drawback may be that panel members might not feel like they have enough information about what’s being discussed, leading to biased opinions based on assumptions rather than facts from research studies.
  • This type of surveying is more expensive because it involves having many people. In addition, it may not have enough representation of specific populations or demographics that would make up the whole group.


  • A disadvantage would likely involve higher costs when compared to other types of surveys due to the participants needed for this.
  • For some surveys, respondents will typically need at least minimal training before answering any survey question. Respondents must answer each new question honestly without skipping over anything until all required fields have been filled out with their responses.

Telephone Surveys

With this survey method, an organization or business will need to contact members of the sample by telephone and ask them questions.

You can do this through a live call, an automated phone line, or a recorded message. Questionnaires can be tailored to suit the needs of the interviewer, and surveys are generally longer.


  • This type of survey can be done quickly and is cost-effective because it does not require any travel to the sample.
  • This survey can be done quickly and is cost-effective because it does not require any travel to the sample.


  • Respondents may feel like they are being intruded on or that their privacy has been violated when this type of survey is conducted over the phone.
  • It is difficult to obtain responses from people who have busy schedules or work odd hours, such as shift workers, without being too invasive.

Mail-in Surveys

Mailed surveys are conducted by sending a questionnaire to the sample. The questionnaire is then returned with answers on it. It’s most often used when there isn’t enough time or resources for other surveying methods.


  • This research method is inexpensive and quick.
  • It’s also a private way to collect information because it doesn’t require people to reveal personal details.


  • Mailed surveys have a low response rate, and the data can be unreliable if respondents don’t answer all of the questions or forget some important details.
  • Respondents may not be candid or return the questionnaire.

Kiosk Surveys

These surveys are set up in locations where access to them is quick without additional effort on behalf of the respondent.

For example, at grocery stores, customers will fill out forms noting likes/dislikes with brands they purchase so store managers know which brands should stay and go based upon customer feedback.


  • It is easy for respondents to fill out the surveys quickly; it provides a quick and efficient solution.
  • Respondents can fill out the surveys at their convenience without any pressure.


  • Respondents may not have enough time to fill out the survey with all required questions. Thus, you can access kiosk surveys without permission from the respondent.
  • Respondents may be more likely to answer based on their mood or not care for the product.

Online Surveys

This data collection technique is often the least expensive. In addition, online surveys allow respondents to participate at their own time from any location with internet access and are easily accessible for those who do not read well or speak English due to automatic translations online.


  • Affordability, accessibility, and convenience allow for participants to take or complete the survey whenever they want.
  • The survey is more likely to be completed, and you can monitor its completion.


  • Cannot ask open-ended questions or follow up with the respondent after the survey is completed.
  • Respondents may not be able to complete the survey if they don’t have access to the internet or are busy, so there might not be enough participants completing it for a good representation of results.


Researchers often use this survey type to ask a specific question. This has a typical survey format, with a question and possible answers to choose from. The objective is to find out what respondents know or believe.

The respondent may answer any or all of the questions in a questionnaire and does not need to be selected beforehand.


  • The survey is customizable. The respondent can answer any or all of the questions, and they do not need to be selected beforehand.
  • Respondents can answer any or all of the questions in a questionnaire, and they don’t need to be selected beforehand.


  • Respondents may not complete the survey because it is too long, which reduces accuracy for data analysis.
  • Respondents may give incorrect information if they are unclear about what’s being asked in a specific question with multiple answers, such as “Which country has the largest population?”.

Market Research Surveys

Researchers- from businesses, organizations, and institutions- use market research surveys to generate data.

Surveys can be general, meaning the researcher wants to know what people think with little input on their answering. They can also be specific, meaning the researcher has a clear idea about what their respondents are thinking or doing to help with decisions about future products or services.


  • This survey method allows the researcher to get a lot of data quickly and efficiently.
  • Survey templates are available on many platforms, which saves a lot of time for the researcher.


  • Respondents may not be honest or forthcoming due to fear of getting in trouble with their employer or organization.
  • Market research surveys can be biased because a specific question needs to be answered, making people answer unnaturally or feel like they are being forced into answering one certain way.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

As the name suggests, this employee survey is used to determine how employees feel about their job, the company they work for, and co-workers.

It is important to make sure the survey includes relevant and appropriate questions for each employee’s job position for the best results.


  • Respondents to this survey are more likely to be honest because they know no one will share the results outside of the company.
  • As the satisfaction survey is specific to the company, it helps pinpoint problems within the workplace.


  • Conducting this type of survey can be expensive because surveying many people is necessary for good results. In addition, response rates are often low when surveys are conducted by email or on paper.
  • There is a risk that employees may think their personal opinion doesn’t matter or don’t want to hurt others’ feelings.

Exit Interview Surveys

Exit interviews are a type of questionnaire used to help determine why people leave their jobs, how they felt about the working environment, and what could have led them to stay.

Exit interviews are common for businesses and institutions that want to understand what leads people away from their organization.


  • Knowing why someone leaves an organization can help them create policies or make changes that will change the minds of potential employees and even current employees.
  • Exit interview surveys also provide insights into improving how organizations work with each other, such as between leadership teams and lower-level staff members.


  • Exit interview surveys can be seen as a way for management to single out employees.
  • Some organizations cannot get accurate information from the interviews because those who have left may feel resentment towards their former employer and refuse to answer questions truthfully, or they might hold back on what they think about the company to avoid retaliation.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The research methods ds in a customer satisfaction survey is often the same as general research methods.

A customer satisfaction survey aims to determine how satisfied customers are with the company’s performance on various standards such as product quality, customer service, and price.

A questionnaire might include questions about what kind of experience they had when they visited an establishment or contacted its call center for help; it may then compare this information against benchmarks set by other companies that have been surveyed using these types of questionnaires.


  • Companies can find out who their loyal customers are and what factors they care about in the company’s product or service.
  • The data may be used to decide how much of a customer services staff should focus on solving problems with returning merchandise, for example.


  • There is no guarantee that all respondents will answer truthfully; some might not want to badmouth their employer by providing negative feedback anonymously when filling out these surveys.
  • The survey requires enough time on behalf of the respondent and organization, limiting how much data a researcher could collect in one day.

Brand Awareness Surveys

Brand awareness/Marketing surveys are used to gauge the level of exposure to a brand and its products or services.

Conducting these types of research helps companies determine if they have enough marketing power and uncover areas for improvement within their target demographics.


  • The information can be generalized to a large population, allowing for easy data analysis and interpretation.
  • The research is less costly than other methods, such as market testing or focus groups.


  • The survey can’t determine the level of interest in a product or service because respondents are often unaware of all products offered by the company.
  • There may not be a good answer for questions about how satisfied people were with their experience if customers have never had any interactions with that organization before.

Training Evaluation Surveys

This type of survey is often used to assess how well employees are being trained. It’s usually written by an organization or institution and has questions covering areas of their training program.

They administer the survey to a group of people trained in the same process and those who have not yet been trained, which constitutes the sample (group) for this type of research.


  • It provides information for organizations to use in developing more effective training programs, and it helps people who are considering enrolling in a company’s program.
  • Participant satisfaction, increased effectiveness, and a better understanding of current processes.


  • The survey may skew the results depending on the feedback of those trained but not yet completed the course work because they could feel that their efforts were worth it or that something was lacking from what they learned.
  • They’re time-consuming, so the organization may not have enough resources to administer them regularly or often.

Mortgage survey

An example of a mortgage survey is when someone asks for information about what payment amounts, interest rates, and down-payments people typically make. This data may be useful if the company you are working with only offers certain terms to their customers.


  • Questions are normally more specific, and the responses are not limited to just yes or no.
  • The information collected in a mortgage survey will likely be more accurate than that found in an open-ended question.


  • Surveys can take up quite a lot of time and money to complete, so you might not want to spend too much if your company isn’t interested or doesn’t have enough resources available.
  • Surveys take a long time, and getting enough people for participation can be difficult.

Lead Generation Survey

Lead generation surveys are often created to determine the type of person interested in a business’s product or service. This is done by asking qualifying questions such as what demographic they fall into, their income level, and other lifestyle questions.


  • Save time, money, and other resources by only targeting people that are interested in your business.
  • People are more likely to answer the survey because they have already shown interest.


  • Some people will not be interested in your business, and you may miss out on them, thus a lower response rate. This would affect the validity of the data.
  • Might miss out on other information about what a person might like or be looking for from the survey.

Likert scale Survey

This survey type is a classic method of asking respondents to rate how they feel on a scale. This can be from their satisfaction level with products or services, the quality and effectiveness of the new medication, or attitudes towards specific social issues.

A Likert scale typically has five options:

  • Strongly agree (agree).
  • Somewhat agree, neutral/no opinion (disagree).
  • Somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree

The respondent rates each item relative to other items for researchers to gain valuable data such as an attitude’s strength about something rated compared to others.


  • Enables researchers to find solutions for problems that previous research studies have reported. This also provides them insight into topics that need more knowledge to decide future projects or even policies within an organization.
  • It allows for an easy and quick review. The respondents can provide feedback quickly and without any pressure from the researcher.


  • There may be bias on how they feel about the product or service compared with others, which can skew data. It doesn’t tell you how many people agree or disagree with your opinion on something, so you don’t know if the results you’re getting back make sense relative to what others think about it.

Non-Profit Surveys

Non-profit surveys are used to study public awareness, attitudes, and behaviors of a specific organization. For example, a non-profit survey might ask about the effectiveness of an advertising campaign or how much people know about certain diseases.


Non-profit organizations don’t have much money or large budgets; they usually rely on cheaper methods such as phone calls, mailers, and paper questionnaires because it would not cost them much.

Non-profit surveys are a good way to get feedback from the public.


Non-profits don’t have as much time or money for research and often use less expensive methods like phone calls, mailers, or paper questionnaires which might not be accurate.

Non-profit surveys tend to be short, so they do not provide many details about people’s opinions and thoughts on certain subjects.

Business Surveys

Companies or organizations use a business survey to figure out how well customers like their products or services. For example, businesses might ask for feedback to improve features of a product, change packaging design, etc.


The survey provides important information for an organization that helps it understand what its customers want and need.

It helps a company figure out how well customers like its products or services and what changes need to be made.


It can be difficult to make changes based on the feedback in a business survey, so it’s not always easy for companies to act on that information.

Business surveys can take time, money, and resources to gather information, so some businesses might not use this method.

Job Satisfaction Survey

This survey is much like a questionnaire or quiz where the respondent answers questions about their work, job satisfaction, and preferences. You can use a job satisfaction survey to measure employee morale and productivity, thus improving performance.


  • This survey can be conducted in person or over the phone and is very cost-effective to administer.
  • This survey is not too time-consuming and can be done in a short time.


  • This type of survey may lack accuracy because the respondent might not fully understand what they are being asked or provide accurate information.
  • It may not get accurate results if respondents feel pressured; it’s difficult for some people to answer questions about their work satisfaction due to confidentiality contracts.

Employee Engagement Survey

Some organizations need to know how often their employees feel committed and interested in the company. Developing this knowledge can be done through an employee engagement survey.


  • It helps organizations see what areas need improvement or change for the staff to continue enjoying working there.
  • Survey questions cover a wide range of topics that may be specific to your organization.


  • The results are not always accurate and may lead the company into an area that isn’t necessarily their problem but rather an individual issue with one person.
  • Employee surveys are only as useful and accurate as of the data they collect, meaning it’s important that those filling them out answer honestly to get representative results.

Net Promoter Score Survey

NPS surveys measure customer loyalty and are very popular with companies. The survey asks customers to answer on a scale of 0-100 how likely they would recommend the company or their product/service (the service) to others.

In turn, this is then used as an indicator of the quality of your business’s products and services. A score higher than 50 means that about half of respondents would recommend it; one below 25 means less than a quarter will do so.


  • As a satisfaction surveying tool, the NPS survey is a great way to measure customer loyalty and determine what areas of your company you should be focusing your attention on.
  • The customer’s feedback is validated because they’re willing to state in public how likely they are to recommend your company or service.


  • The NPS survey can be time-consuming and expensive, as much planning needs to go into when administering it.
  • This type of surveying can result in skewed results if customers are not fully informed about the product they’re rating or have unrealistic expectations for it.

Topographic Survey

Researchers use topographic surveys to find out as much information about a specific location. These surveys often focus on the environment, geology, and geography.


  • A topographic survey takes a detailed look at the location and gives a better idea of it. This type of study is perfect if you want detailed information about climate change or environmental conditions on a location.
  • A topographic survey is useful for those who are interested in the environment and geology.


  • These surveys take longer than other types of surveys, so they can be expensive to conduct.
  • They are time-consuming, costly, and only provide information about one area.

CSAT Survey

This type of survey is used to find out the customer service level of a company. It’s usually conducted by telephone, email, in person, or online depending on what type of information you are looking for.

The survey can also be done anonymously and will not include any personally identifying information.

This CSAT Survey asks customers how satisfied they were with their overall service experience – from the ease of booking an appointment to the quality of work provided.

The number one question asked is “How likely would you recommend this business?” where respondents rate their likelihood on a scale ranging from “not at all likely” (0) to “extremely likely” (100).


  • Provides a way to gather customer feedback, engages customers, helps you find out customer needs.
  • It helps prioritize areas that need to be addressed and can improve customer retention.


  • Customer satisfaction surveys cost money; it is time-consuming for the organization to conduct the survey and fill them out (some surveys take 40 minutes).
  • Time-consuming and costly since it requires research staff as well as the time of customers responding.

Panel Surveys

These surveys involve a relatively small, pre-selected group of people asked to fill out the survey. They’re often used in market research and focus groups to get feedback from individuals with similar backgrounds or interests as your sample population.


  • The respondents typically speak frankly and openly without being embarrassed by their opinions; since they’re only talking amongst themselves, there is less chance that they’ll change their minds as time passes.
  • You can reach a targeted audience; the survey is short because there’s only one group of people involved. You can get more in-depth responses from a smaller sample size.


  • The sample size might not be large enough for statistical significance, and you’re limited to interviewing people who are available at that time or willing/able to participate.
  • All data collected from this type of survey are limited to those who have participated in it, so you might be missing out on potential feedback or insight that could be valuable for your research.

Cohort Surveys

These kinds of surveys are often used to track the trends of a single group over time. However, cohort surveys are also more effective when you want to compare people who graduated simultaneously.

Examples include the Harvard University study on different generations’ health habits; mortality rates among WWII veterans from 1998 to 2012.


  • They are easier and less costly to conduct than national or global surveys.
  • The groups of people surveyed will likely be more similar in age, socioeconomic, etc., so it’s better for studying developmental changes over time.


  • It can be hard to get a big enough sample size since only one group is being studied at any given point in time.
  • It’s always harder to predict changes in small samples.

Retrospective Surveys

A retrospective survey is a questionnaire that asks respondents to answer questions about their past experiences.

This type of study will ask people to recall events they’ve experienced, such as food poisoning or traumatic accidents, and how this event may have changed the way they view a brand, for example.


  • Researchers try to find out how people behave in their natural environment. The researcher can introduce changes or experiments into this environment and observe the reactions of those studied.
  • This type of survey is cheaper and easier to administer than a prospective study.


  • It’s time-consuming as respondents have to recall events that happened long ago, leading to people being less honest because they cannot remember accurately or completely.
  • It also relies on memories of those studied instead of studying them while the event was happening, so there might not be accurate results due to this problem.

Topographic Survey

This type of survey typically maps the location and extent of objects in a given area. For example, a topographic survey is used to map out the physical features of a piece of land, such as where rivers flow and mountains are.

This type of survey is often conducted for planning purposes, studies to better understand the environment and human-built features in an area.


  • It helps determine whether or not to build on certain areas of land. Less time-consuming, less expensive.
  • It’s a less time-consuming survey method and eliminates personal bias in questions.


  • The information collected is limited to what can be seen on the ground or sensed from satellite data.
  • The lack of visual stimuli makes it difficult to interpret the data and map out areas that are not visible on the ground.

Cross-Sectional Survey

Cross-sectional surveys are used to collect data from a group of people to answer questions.

These surveys are often designed to understand how behaviors differ between two or more large populations, geographically, ethnically, socioeconomically, and generationally different.


  • The advantage of a cross-sectional survey is that they are the most efficient type of study and can be conducted quickly.
  • This type of survey is less costly than other types of surveys.


  • It may not be the best option for more long-term studies, as they are time-intensive and require many resources.
  • This type of survey may not be accurate since it relies on self-reports, and people tend to forget things or misreport their answers.

Healthcare Surveys

Surveys for healthcare professionals can be directed at employees, patients, or even both. These surveys are more often than not designed to assess the level of satisfaction with services and facilities in a hospital.

Hospitals use healthcare surveys to assess the level of satisfaction with services and facilities.


  • It allows employees to express themselves and voice problems or concerns with the hospital without fear of repercussion.
  • Surveys can capture important data such as feedback on patient behavior and how often patients have visited the emergency room in the last six months.


  • Surveys are more costly and time-consuming than other methods of collecting samples because they require more resources for implementation and analysis.
  • It can be difficult for healthcare professionals to use these surveys to improve services because they may not have control over which areas will change in response to service improvements.

Trend Surveys

This type of survey is used to explore a trend or pattern. For example, you are exploring the idea that people seem to be spending less time with their families and more on social media. Researchers could do a trend survey to compare people’s responses over time.


  • Trends surveys are good for exploring and finding patterns in a large population.
  • The trends over time can help make predictions.


  • Trends surveys are not as accurate for finding exact data or statistics since it is a generalization of what the population thinks on an idea, which may change at any given moment.
  • You need to have data over time, so it might not work if you are interested in something like what people think of the new Avengers movie.

Administrative Surveys

These survey types are often used in the United States. They are created by and for government agencies or other established organizations to fulfill a need.

They are often conducted to collect information about a specific group of people, such as unemployment rates or the number and location of families that qualify for food stamps. Administrative surveys may also be used in businesses on occasion- such as market research.


  • These surveys are often conducted for a specific purpose – which means the survey designer and data collector know exactly what they want to find out. The results may be more accurate if there is less ambiguity about how questions should be answered or interpreted than in some other types of surveys, such as those done by consumers themselves.
  • The survey data collected is in a form that can be more easily analyzed statistically and compared to other surveys.


  • Research questions may not generate the results needed by those commissioning the research, leading to increased sampling sizes or focus changes.
  • It isn’t easy when designing this type of questionnaire, for example, whether participants will fully understand all elements of answering questions thoroughly enough without any ambiguity.

Usability Survey

Usability surveys are used to find out how a survey participant thinks about the usability of your product. Companies use this technique to improve their products or services and rely on customers’ feedback about what they liked or disliked.


  • It has a very low cost and can be carried out remotely.
  • It is easy to set up and can be carried out remotely.


  • Some companies are unsure if they should rely on customer feedback or not, so there may be some hesitancy in taking the survey.
  • It is difficult to get an accurate understanding of the entire customer base from this technique alone.

B2B Surveys

When it comes to business-to-business (B-to-B) surveys, you will need information from the target audience. It could be other businesses or institutions that are potential customers of your products and services.

For example, if you own a social media company such as Twitter or Facebook and want to know how your target audience feels about your platform’s features, this would be an appropriate survey.


  • B2B survey is a good way to find out what your customers think of the product or service and how they might use it in the future.
  • This method has been proven effective in increasing sales with little cost involved compared to other methods such as advertising campaigns.


  • The lack of direct contact between respondent and company poses challenges concerning follow-up questions or requests for additional details about their answers that may arise after the survey closes.
  • B-to-B surveys have been known for being expensive, time-consuming, and challenging to construct according to the company’s needs, which can cause people to resist them.

Retrospective Survey

This type of survey is conducted after the event has taken place. The questions in this survey are generally closed-ended and can be answered with a yes or no. It’s used to assess the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of people in a specific population.


  • The key strength of this type of research is that it can be conducted quickly. You can survey with the same people or new respondents.
  • It requires little effort on behalf of participants as well as researchers; the specific event is over.


  • These surveys are less representative because they’re only conducted after an event has taken place. It limits your sample size to those who have already participated in this type of research.
  • The other disadvantage is that there’s a possible delay between collecting data until you analyze them, slowing down production time for results.

Longitudinal Survey

A longitudinal survey is a research method in which researchers follow respondents over time to study change throughout their lives.

When doing this type of survey, it’s also possible for you to compare people with different characteristics, i.e., educational levels, and see if there are any differences between them at various points in the timeline.

Surveys can be long or short-term based on how often they’re conducted; however, some surveys may last decades while others might only occur once every few years.


  • Longitudinal survey studies provide a complete picture of the experiences of people.
  • Longitudinal surveys allow us to see how people change with aging, giving insights into health status in later life while providing information about typical development for their birth cohort at any given point in adulthood and estimating their birth cohort heredity’s relative contributions environment individual difference.


  • Because longitudinal surveys require intensive resources, they are often used for particular purposes such as health research; most longitudinal studies are designed to address narrow research questions.
  • These survey types are expensive to do. They take much more resources than short-term studies, i.e., need trained staff; there’s the problem with getting people to participate without being paid or incentivized in some way.

Land Survey

This type of geodesy includes the process and techniques used to measure, assemble, and produce maps representing ground surface features such as terrain.

It usually has five steps including:

  1. Establishing control points on the earth’s surface for use in measurements.
  2. Measuring distances between these points using calculators or by plotting coordinates with global positioning systems units.
  3. Assembling them into map sheets showing topography.
  4. Computed altitude values (contour lines).
  5. Producing contour interval value charts to plot height information accurately onto aerial photos taken from an airplane. The result is often called an “aerial photo-topographic mapping.”


  • Aerial photos can be taken at any time of the year, without limitations on the weather.
  • Aerial photo-topographic mapping is also less expensive than manual topographic mapping, and it takes less workforce to produce a map.


  • Photo interpretation is not always exact, and sometimes, aerial photographs are falsely interpreted due to spotlights or lens flares that may distort features in the photo.
  • The primary disadvantage of topographic mapping from an airplane using aerial photography technique is its high cost; a typical project would require about $250 per square mile ($86/km²).

Price Sensitivity Survey

This type of survey can test how much each respondent would be willing to pay for a product based on different prices, or it could ask respondents what they are currently paying and if they would like to switch providers at different listed prices.

The end goal is for the researcher/businesses/institution in question to find out which pricing strategy will result in more significant profit margins by testing various price points with their target population.


  • Like a customer survey, you can do it quickly, and the results are easy to understand.
  • Price sensitivity surveys can be used to test several price points with just one survey.


  • It’s not always a good idea to give your sample too many options if they feel overwhelmed or unable to make any decision at all; respondents might also try “playing” with you by providing different answers just for fun.
  • The respondent’s answer may not accurately reflect the actual price point. They often think about an attractive discount to them rather than their inherent willingness to pay.

Sample Survey

Survey researchers use this type of survey when they want to get an idea about the thoughts and feelings of a population. A sample means you can do it in person, on the phone, or online.

The use of multiple-choice and open-ended questions are the most common types of questionnaires.


  • You can follow up with respondents to make sure they completed the survey and choose a method for analyzing data, such as through statistics software.
  • Some people might feel like this is an invasion of privacy, which can be costly and time-intensive.


  • It’s expensive and may end up being too lengthy or not reaching enough people in your population.
  • Cannot get anything but a general idea about the thoughts of your people.

K-12 Parent Engagement Survey

The purpose of this survey is to assess the level of student involvement with their parent(s) in grades K-12 and how it impacts academic performance.

The survey is conducted by a teacher or administrator with the assistance of some staff members and other school personnel, usually once during each academic year on an entirely voluntary basis.

Parents are notified about the survey beforehand to make sure they understand what it’s for, and that participation is entirely voluntary.


  • The survey is straightforward to administer and complete.
  • The survey is very cheap to conduct.


  • The survey does not provide deep insights into the level of engagement between parents and students; it provides a general sense of their involvement with their parent(s).
  • The time for collecting and analyzing data isn’t as fast or quick when compared with other surveys.

Event Planning Survey  

It is a great way to find out what your customers are looking for at the event before it is scheduled. Businesses and organizations can use this information to make changes or updates for their event.


  • You can send out the survey before the event, so you don’t have to worry about it after.
  • It’s less expensive than conducting a focus group.


  • It’s time-consuming to send out the survey, and it could be costly if you have a large population of people that haven’t RSVP’d yet.
  • You will not exactly know what your customers want until they attend the event and fill out the questionnaire.

Alta Survey

Alta survey is a two-step survey, with the first step being to identify respondents that meet specific criteria. The second step is to administer the survey to the respondents and analyze them.


  • This method is faster and less expensive than other methods.
  • It can be done by a single person, thus saving time and money.


  • Respondents may not feel as much ownership of the survey because they were not involved in designing it.
  • It can be challenging to get many responses from this type if the population being surveyed is large or hard to reach, such as low-income people.

Psychographic Analysis Survey

It provides a brief description of the person and then asks questions about their attitude, lifestyle or personality. This helps understand how the person feels about a particular topic or type of product. What makes this survey type different is that you can use it in any industry.


  • Easy to use makes it easy to compare groups and can be conducted over the phone or online.
  • It’s less expensive to conduct than other survey methods-making it a good option for budget-conscious people.


  • They are typically more time-consuming and can take more than an hour to complete.
  • The data analysis is more difficult because it doesn’t include a list of questions that each person responded with.

Quantitative Survey

It asks respondents to answer various types of questions such as yes or no and multiple-choice options.

It helps get an overall sense of how people feel towards certain things in comparison to others. Still, when trying to compare attitudes between different groups, you can come up empty-handed.


  • The easiest way for generalizing what a large population thinks. Easy statistical analysis of collected information.
  • Does not require much time or resources from your company to create the survey itself.


  • Limited knowledge about the sample may lead you to make wrong conclusions.
  • Many companies don’t want to invest in the survey because they are expensive and time-consuming for those investing their own time and money.

Qualitative Survey

It helps with getting an overall sense of how people feel towards certain things. But when trying to compare attitudes between different groups, you can come up empty-handed.


  • You now have more detailed knowledge about sample size and can make comparisons, with fewer risks of getting lost in data.
  •  Takes less time and is less expensive hence easy to implement.


  • It would be best if you were skilled in qualitative survey design and analysis to work well.
  • You need to develop a list of questions and possible answers beforehand, which can be time-consuming work.

Demographic Analysis Survey

It describes the person and then asks questions about their social, economic, or ethnic background. This is helpful for understanding who uses your products/services, which markets to focus on, and how you should market them.

Demographics are essential because they help you understand what types of people use your business; therefore, it’s crucial to know this information before marketing campaigns because some demographics may not respond well to certain ads or ideas.


  • This survey helps you understand what demographics are already using your services and which ones may not be.
  • Allows for better marketing techniques to suit different markets or audiences.


  • There is a high cost for conducting this type of survey because it takes time to collect, analyze, and publish the data gathered from each person in the sample.
  • This survey can take a long time to finish because it is so comprehensive. There’s also the issue of getting responses from people who don’t have access to technology or the internet.

Product Research Survey

For product research surveys, you need a familiar sample of the products or services. In addition, you want to know how satisfied your customers are and what they like/dislike about the product.

The survey should be short, with 12-14 questions. Question types should be multiple choice and open-ended.


  • Quick and easy to analyze, meaning you can get a lot of information in a short amount of time.
  • The data is easily segmented and tabulated. As a result, theThe researcher can understand more about their customers, which helps guide them in future decisions.


  • Not suitable for gathering customer feedback on specific features or service quality.
  • If you want to talk with a customer, they may complain about the survey – it can be seen as an inconvenience.

Field Research Survey

This form of survey is done in person with the respondents. It can be conducted at a respondent’s home, workplace, or community gathering place, and it has an interviewer conducting the interview.

For field research surveys, you need a sample that has experience using your product or service as its primary function, for example, if you were trying to find out how much gas costs at various stations around town.

You want qualitative information so ask open-ended questions asking why they visited certain places, what other factors they considered when deciding where to buy from, and get any additional insight into the process such as price range preference.


  • This allows for an in-depth understanding of the respondent leading to more accurate results. This can be a great thing for those who need to know in-depth but not so much if you are only looking for an idea or trend on what people think about your company’s product.
  • This method is a great way to generate new ideas for marketing research.


  • This method can be expensive and time-consuming as the sample size is not huge, making it challenging to obtain accurate results.
  • Field research is time-consuming and costly because of the amount of work that goes into it.

Selection Survey

This survey is often used when you have a limited number of participants to choose from. You can do a selection survey online or offline, but it’s best if the respondents are located in your area.

You want to know what people think about specific topics such as politics, religion, or food preferences. This survey type can be long, so it has many open-ended questions.


  • The information gathered from this survey could be helpful for proposals and presentations.
  • You can ask open-ended questions and don’t have to worry about how many people will give you responses.


  • Requires a lot of time to read all of the responses.
  • The pool of people from whom you can get answers is limited, and this could become expensive for a business or organization with more than ten thousand employees.

Process Evaluation Survey

This is a survey that evaluates the process that occurred during data collection. Researchers usually give an open-ended question to the respondent and ask them for their thoughts.

This survey method is unique because the respondent’s comments are not about themselves or other people but on how they felt during data collection.


  • It’s simple to conduct, and the data is quicker to analyze. Thus, easy for respondents to respond.
  • It helps organizations find areas where there can be improvements as well as identify strengths.


  • It doesn’t provide many insights, and it’s hard for companies or organizations to find solutions from the data collected.
  • Respondents might not have an understanding of how their thoughts affect data collection.

Participant Observation Survey

This type of survey records participants as they respond to open-ended and closed-ended questions through observation during data collection sessions.

Some observers may note what people are wearing while responding to questionnaires; others might take notes on whether individuals give long or short answers, look at them when answering, get angry with an answer given, etc.

These types of observations can then go into creating conclusions for research projects.


  • Increases understanding of participants’ behavior and motivations.
  • Easy for observers to follow, observation provides a good understanding of participant’s behaviors and motivations.


  • It is difficult to control how observations occur due to the time it takes and how often an unconscious bias can occur when observing. It may be seen as an invasion of privacy by some individuals if specific actions are marked that they did not know they were being recorded.
  • More complex for participants to answer questions or in a timed environment. Observers may not always pick up on all information.

Boundary Survey

This survey is used to find out the boundaries of a property. This survey is done on land and water using measurements, staking-out, or other surveying methods, including aerial photographs.


  • This method is the fastest and cheapest. Therefore, it’s the most ideal for quick and easy boundary surveys.
  • This type may have more accurate results because there will be more minor discrepancies in whether the same land belongs to different people- compared with using maps.


  • Boundary lines are not always clear, it can be hard to stake out property boundaries on sloping ground or at irregular angles, and there may be disputes about where one piece of land ends, and another begins.
  • This survey can only be performed once and cannot measure volume or change in landforms over time.

Checklist Survey

This type of survey allows respondents to provide their opinion on a list of options presented without any specific order, which is rather like filling out a checklist with as many boxes that they feel represent their opinion for each option.

It serves as an excellent way to gather information about the frequency of certain events, like how often people eat out at restaurants.

A checklist survey is usually helpful when you want respondents to provide their opinion on all possible options without any particular order or give general feedback and not more detailed explanations for each option.


  • It’s often easier to answer because the respondent can select whichever option they want without explaining their opinion.
  • This type of survey may be more likely than other surveys to provide a representative sample, as each member has one vote.


  • This type of survey depends on people being able to understand and choose among all options provided, which means it doesn’t work well with some less knowledgeable groups or have difficulties understanding the English language.
  • The design may be confusing because some questions might not have enough responses from other items on the same page, so there are different pages. This does not allow you to compare opinions between groups or make correlations across topics- its format limits it.

Building Survey

A building survey determines how much repairs would cost and if there is any damage due to construction or vandalism before buying real estate for sale or lease.


  • This survey can be conducted in-person or online, and the results are very accurate.
  • The information is very accurate, hence why real estate professionals use it.


  • This survey requires an expert who can deal with construction and property management technicalities, which may not be available or affordable for smaller companies.
  • The report generated after completing this type of survey may have errors from human error when measuring dimensions, which could lead an individual buyer astray on what they’re willing to pay for the house based on false information.

Preliminary Survey 

This type of survey will be conducted before an official boundary study for zoning changes or subdivision permits.

The purpose is to plan the route that needs to be surveyed and where all monuments should get accurate results.

It also helps with determining how much time it will take for the specific area being surveyed.


  • It’s cheap and quick, meaning you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the survey establishing boundaries.
  • Data collection is done in the field, which means that you can immediately compare your findings to what is on record.


  • You need a large workforce and time if it’s for an area with many buildings or structures because you have to measure each one individually.
  • You are limited to what you can do with the information because it does not cover all of your area or route being surveyed, so this will require more surveys than one preliminary survey.

Aerial Photographic Flight Line Strip And Spot Elevation Survey (APFELSS) 

This type of survey combines photography with photogrammetry to create detailed maps using this method, which can be used for various purposes such as site investigation, land use planning, and zoning changes.


  • Not only does this type of survey provide detailed maps, but it also can detect subsurface features.
  • This method is cheaper and more accurate than RTK GPS, making it a better option for many surveying jobs.


  • With photogrammetry, you need images that can be matched up, so high-quality photographs must be taken to work correctly. It’s hard to get good photos when the area being photographed has trees or other obstructions that make it challenging to take a picture of an entire object at once because some parts will always not show up on one particular image.
  • It is very time-consuming and requires a helicopter or airplane to take photos.

Onboarding Surveys

Onboarding surveys are often sent to new employees after orientation and help measure the success of the training. How they work is by asking employees to rate their satisfaction and provide any feedback they have.


Feedback is often anonymous, so shy people can provide feedback without fear of being singled out for criticism.

It may help to identify any areas of weakness in training or what needs to be improved.


  • It may not reach a wide enough range of perspectives.

Paper Survey

Paper surveys are typically a paper booklet handed out to participants with the survey questions printed on them. People will then fill in their answers and return them to the researcher for analysis.

This type of survey is more likely to lead people towards social desirability bias, meaning they’ll answer differently than what they think because of social pressure or other reasons.


  • When compared to other types of surveys, paper surveys are usually cheaper. Hence you don’t have to spend too much money.
  • Data collection is more straightforward and makes data analysis faster because it’s done by hand.


  • The paper survey does not allow multimedia options such as videos or pictures, leading them to be less engaging, leading participants away with boredom.
  • The paper survey does not allow for multimedia options such as videos or photos, leaving the participant feeling bored, and they may leave before finishing it all.

Post-event Surveys

Post-event surveys are conducted after an event has occurred to see how the respondents felt before and after it happened.

Some examples of post-event surveys evaluate how much the respondents enjoyed a particular concert, movie, or event and if their opinion changed after what happened.


  • This survey type allows the organization, business, or institution to measure how well they hosted an event and their overall satisfaction.
  • This survey type can be more detailed because the respondents can share their experience after it has happened.


  • This survey is only conducted after events are over, making it too late for them to implement any changes.
  • This survey type can lack information because respondents are unable to give feedback in real-time.

Internal Surveys

These surveys also occur before and during certain events. Thus, organizations, businesses, or institutions constantly understand what people think about everything from products in-store inventory to customer service when calling on the phone with someone who works there.


  • They allow companies to consider feedback while something is still happening rather than having enough information only afterward. Some things may be irreversible, which could lead to more complaints being filed later down the line.
  • It can also allow employees to speak up about what they think is wrong with the company before getting worse.


  • Employees may not be as honest when they know that their results will lead to inevitable consequences.
  • It can also be time-consuming and expensive to process the information.

Online Research Survey

The survey research is most helpful for understanding the needs and desires of a specific group.

When evaluating an online research survey, it is essential to consider who they are targeting as respondents, how many people will participate in the survey, what questions there are within this questionnaire or study, and if participants get incentives through completing them.

With this study, people can visit the website or click on the link from another site to do the advertisement.

Online Research Surveys are often used for business-to-business (B2B) surveys because they allow companies to reach large audiences quickly without incurring high costs.


  • It allows for extensive scale data collection.
  • More affordable than offline methods.
  • You can collect data from a larger population.


  • Results are not as accurate because there is no way to verify respondent’s responses.
  • Sophisticated statistical analysis techniques may be needed. Therefore, it would require more time and effort in the project’s design stage, which could lead to higher costs.

External Surveys

People conduct these surveys outside of an organization or institution. This helps to find out more about what’s happening inside and how things may be going for them.


  • They give outsiders a chance to hear from someone other than their staff members, which allows for better understanding on both sides.
  • It provides new perspectives and insights into different industries and companies – something sometimes missed by insiders.


  • These surveys have less information because there’s no way of knowing if that person works at this company, so some details could be left out in questionnaires depending on where they ask questions.
  • They also have a smaller sample size, which means they may not be as accurate.


In the end, surveys are invaluable to organizations, businesses, and institutions. Surveys provide many benefits to all of these institutions and allow them to understand better what the people, or sample population, think about the given subject.

While surveys do provide many benefits, there are some drawbacks. Surveys can be costly and time-consuming to administer, and for the results to be accurate, they need a large sample size of participants that may not always happen.

However, the benefits of surveys greatly outweigh the drawbacks.

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