This section explores the main features of survey research in the social sciences and addresses questions such as:
- What is survey research?
- What is a survey?
- What types of surveys are there?
- What the strengths and weaknesses of survey research?
- What types of sampling are there?
Survey research is a commonly-used research method in the social sciences. It involves gathering quantitative and/or qualitative data from participants typically using a questionnaire (or survey) or interview. A questionnaire might be delivered via mail, face-to-face, or online. Interviews may be conducted via phone, face-to-face, or live the internet.
By using carefully controlled sampling procedures and research designs, it is assumed that a sample's responses to the survey will be representative of the target population's likely responses. It is important to appreciate the pros and cons of survey research designs (e.g., surveys can be a cost-efficient way to gather a lot of data, however, it can be costly to obtain representative data).
For more information how to design surveys, see survey design.