You are on page 1of 14


o A survey is a way of collecting information that you hope represents the views of
the whole community or group in which you are interested.
o Is a data-gathering technique that makes you obtain facts or information about the
subject or object of your research through the data-gathering instruments of
interview or questionnaire.

1. Case study surveys, which collect information from a part of a group or

community, without trying to choose them for overall representation of the larger
population. Case study surveys only provide specific information about the
community studied.
2. Sampled surveys, ask a sample portion of a group to answer your questions. If
done well, the results for the sample will reflect the results you would have gotten
by surveying the entire group.
3. Census surveys, in which you give your survey questionnaire to every member
of the population you want to learn about. This will give you the most accurate
information about the group, but it may not be very practical for large groups.
You can collect information about the behaviors, needs, and opinions using surveys.
Surveys can be used to find out attitudes and reactions, to measure client satisfaction, to
gauge opinions about various issues, and to add credibility to your research. Surveys are
a primary source of information -- that is, you directly ask someone for a response to a
question, rather than using any secondary sources like written records.
You can use surveys to measure ideas or opinions about community issues related to
your initiative. For example, you may want to know how many people use your services,
what users think about your services, what new users expect from your services, and
whether users are satisfied with what you provide.

 You need a quick and efficient way of getting information

 You need to reach a large number of people
 You need statistically valid information about a large number of people
 The information you need isn't readily available through other means

Written surveys: Pros and Cons Disadvantages of written surveys:

Advantages of written surveys:  Often has low return rate
 Limited alternative expression of
 Large numbers of people can give their input respondent's reaction
 Low cost  Depends on the selected sample
 People can respond at their convenience  May not truly represent of the
 Avoids interviewer bias whole group
 Provides a written record  Respondent may skip sections
 Easy to list or tabulate responses
 Wide range of respondents
H O W D O Y O U P R E P AR E A S U R V E Y ?

1. Identify the purpose and objectives of the survey

When carrying out a survey, a researcher will initially need to establish a certain
understanding as to the nature and purpose of the study. Is it to be a poll of people’s
behavior, attitudes or opinions? Or is it an analytical study, examining correlation (the
relationship) between sets of data? What do you hope to learn from the process? What
will happen to the results? Who will be asked, what will they be asked and how will
they be asked? Being clear about the aims of the survey will help to establish the
target population, which may comprise of individuals, specific groups or units (e.g.
clinics or wards). After an overall aim for the study has been established, it may be
useful to propose more precise goals. For example, if the overall aim of a survey is to
establish service users’ opinions of the care they receive, more precise goals of
enquiry could include particular objectives of the service, such as quality of care.

2. Identify to whom the survey is aimed/ target group

Once you have decided on the purpose, the target group is usually fairly obvious, but
it may need to be specified. Do you want to know more about how your product is
used? The target group is presumably your customers in that case, but perhaps you
want to know the different ways in which customers of different ages and genders and
in different locations use it? If you specify the segments that are of interest, it becomes
easier to work with background data later.

3. Identify a sampling plan

When using a sample, it is imperative that those chosen are representative, as far as
possible, of the overall population, so that information from the survey can be
generalized to the population as a whole. A representative sample means that findings
can be said to relate to those not included in the sample.

Identify precisely the population of interest – e.g. all patients in a particular

location, or just those using a specific service or facility. A representative sample
should provide a reduced version of the larger population in terms of specific,
predefined, relevant characteristics (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity).

Identify the ‘sample frame’ – before choosing a sample from the overall population,
it is necessary to produce a sample frame, a list of all those within the population of
interest from which a sample can be selected.

Identify the form of sampling to be used – a number of ways of selecting people

for inclusion in a sample exist, some of which are associated with a greater chance of
achieving representativeness than others. Different forms of sampling include:

Simple random sampling – whereby the names of those to be included in the

sample are randomly selected from the population, so everyone has an equal
chance of being included.
Stratified sampling – the population is split into ‘strata’ thought to be important
variables to the results produced, e.g. age, gender. The same principles of simple
random sampling are then applied to each stratum. This process is used to
ensure that no sector of the population is under or over represented.

Systematic sampling – from a list of names you may decide that every nth
person or individuals whose names begin with specified alphabetical letters will
be selected for inclusion in the sample, until the sample size required has been
attained. Care should be taken with this method because, due to the way the
sample frame is produced, an unrepresentative sample can be chosen. A periodic
cycle may exist in the list that could bias the sample.

Cluster sampling – is applied when a population naturally falls into groups. For
example, in a school, classes can be used as the unit to be randomized, rather
than individual schoolchildren.

Opportunity/convenience sampling – involves using those people that are to

hand to form the sample, e.g. clients that you meet with on a regular basis. Such
samples are rarely likely to be representative of the population of interest, making
it difficult to state how far the results can be generalized to others.

Snowball sampling – occurs when the researcher initially contacts a small group
of people and then uses these individuals to make contact with others from the
population of interest. This may be employed if an accessible sampling frame is
lacking or because the population is changeable. Again, such an approach is
problematic in terms of representativeness.

Quota sampling – a common method used by market researchers. The

researcher decides in advance the structure of a sample that would represent the
population of interest. For example, a sample of service users at a mental health
day center may be structured so as to reflect the makeup of all users in terms of
specific characteristics (e.g. age, gender, mental health problem). It is then the
researcher’s task to interview people until this specification has been satisfied.

Identify how large the sample needs to be – a sample only constitutes a proportion of
the real population. Hence, results from the sample that are generalized to the overall
population are at risk of inaccuracy; the choice of an alternative sample could give
different responses, generating different results. Such inaccuracies can be reduced
through the use of random sampling and careful selection of the sample size. When
deciding on a sample size, researchers need to consider various aspects of their
research, including:

 The research questions (e.g. the variables being measured);

 The level of diversity within the population as a whole (e.g. degree of variability in
terms of qualifications, job, gender);
 The degree of precision required from the sample in relation to the overall
 Whether to stratify sampling to avoid over or under representation of specific
groups (Sheldon and Chilvers, 2000).

4. Write your questions

When preparing the questions, bear in mind that they can take many forms.
Questions might be:

 Open-ended: Designed to prompt the respondent to provide you with more than
just one- or two-word responses. These are often "how" or "why" questions.

For example: "Why is it important to use condoms?" These questions are used when
you want to find out what leads people to specific behaviors, what their attitudes are
towards different things, or how much they know about a given topic; they provide good
anecdotal evidence. The drawback to using open-ended questions is that it's hard to
compile their results.

 Closed-ended (also sometimes referred to as forced choice questions): Specific

questions that prompt yes or no answers.

For example: "Do you use condoms?" These are used when the information you need
is fairly clear-cut, i.e., if you need to know whether people use a particular service or
have ever heard of a specific local resource.

 Multiple choice: Allow the respondent to select one answer from a few possible

For example: "When I have sex, I use condoms... a) every time, b) most times, c)
sometimes, d) rarely, e) never." These allow you to find out more detailed information
than closed-ended questions, and the results can be compiled more easily than open-
ended questions.

 Likert scale: Each respondent is asked to rate items on a response scale. For
instance, they could rate each item on a 1-to-5 response scale where:

1 = strongly disagree
2 = disagree
3 = undecided
4 = agree
5 = strongly agree
If you want to weed out neutral and undecided responses you can use an even-
numbered scale with no middle "neutral" or "undecided" choice. In this situation, the
respondent is forced to decide whether he or she leans more towards the "agree" or
"disagree" end of the scale for each item. The final score for the respondent on the
scale might be the sum of his or her ratings for all of the items.
Example: Using the Likert scale
Here are a few sample survey questions in Likert scale format, done without a neutral
Please check the answer indicating your reaction to the questions listed below.

 Strongly Disagree
 Disagree
 Agree
 Strongly Agree
 Violent crime is a significant problem in my neighborhood
 The police have done enough to prevent crime in my neighborhood.
 If a citizen watch program were implemented in my neighborhood, I would
participate in it.
 I would be supportive of organized activities for youth in my neighborhood.

5. Identify how the sample is to be chosen and contacted

It is then necessary to decide how those selected will be contacted; by letter, by phone
or in person. Mailed or telephone surveys tend to be less expensive because they do
not require the time and cost of an experienced, qualified interviewer. However, a
better response rate is likely to emerge from face to face interviews, compared to
telephone and mail surveys, and from telephone surveys compared to mailed one. If
it is mailed, ensure that clear instructions are provided on the survey and make sure
it is well presented and uncluttered.

Constructing a Survey
1. Martha wants to construct a survey that shows which sports students at her
school like to play the most.
a) List the goal of the survey.
The goal of the survey is to find the answer to the question: “Which sports do
students at Martha’s school like to play the most?”
b) What population sample should she interview?
A sample of the population would include a random sample of the student population
in Martha’s school. A good strategy would be to randomly select students (using dice
or a random number generator) as they walk into an all-school assembly.
c) How should she administer the survey?
Face-to-face interviews are a good choice in this case. Interviews will be easy to
conduct since the survey consists of only one question which can be quickly
answered and recorded, and asking the question face to face will help eliminate non-
response bias.
d) Create a data collection sheet that she can use to record her results.
In order to collect the data to this simple survey Martha can design a data collection
sheet such as the one below:
Sport Tally
This is a good, simple data collection sheet because:
 Plenty of space is left for the tally marks.
 Only one question is being asked.
 Many possibilities are included, but space is left at the bottom in case
students give answers that Martha didn’t think of.
 The answer from each interviewee can be quickly collected and then the data
collector can move on to the next person.
Once the data has been collected, suitable graphs can be made to display the

Display, Analyze, and Interpret Statistical Survey Data

In the previous section we considered two examples of surveys you might conduct in
your school. The first one was designed to find the sport that students like to play the
most. The second survey was designed to find out how many hours per week students
For the first survey, students’ choices fit neatly into separate categories. Appropriate
ways to display the data might be a pie chart or a bar graph. Let’s revisit this example.
In Example A Martha interviewed 112 students and obtained the following results.
Sport Tally
baseball |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| | 31
basketball |||| |||| |||| || 17
football |||| |||| |||| 14
soccer |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||| 28
volleyball |||| |||| 9
swimming |||| ||| 8
gymnastics ||| 3
fencing || 2
Total: 112
a) Make a bar graph of the results showing the percentage of students in each
To make a bar graph, we list the sport categories on the x−axis and let the percentage
of students be represented by the y−axis.
To find the percentage of students in each category, we divide the number of students
in each category by the total number of students surveyed:
Sport Percentage
baseball 31112=.28=28%
basketball 17112=.15=15%
football 14112=.125=12.5%
soccer 28112=.25=25%
volleyball 9112=.08=8%
swimming 8112=.07=7%
gymnastic 3112=.025=2.5%
fencing 2112=.02=2%
Now we can make a graph where the height of each bar represents the percentage of
students in each category:

b. Make a pie chart of the collected information, showing the percentage of students in
each category.
To make a pie chart, we find the percentage of the students in each category by dividing
the number of students in each category as in part a. The central angle of each slice of
the pie is found by multiplying the percentage of students in each category by 360
degrees (the total number of degrees in a circle). To draw a pie-chart by hand, you can
use a protractor to measure the central angles that you find for each category.

 “An experiment is a scientific method of collecting data whereby you give the subjects
a sort of treatment or condition then evaluate the results to find out the manner by
which the treatment affected the subjects and to discover the reasons behind the
effects of such treatment on the subjects.” (Baraceros, 2016, p. 98)

The following list of steps explains the process of conducting experimental research in
more detail. Researchers should follow these steps in order to ensure the integrity of the

1. Select a topic. This involves simply identifying an area of interest or general

2. Identify the research problem. Given the topic or subject, the researcher must
now identify specific problems or questions that relate to the subject. The researcher
may be familiar with subject and may already know the problem they want to
research. If the researcher is new to the topic, it may be helpful to examine literature
and previous studies, as well as talk to other researchers. The problem selected
should be important to the field and be of significance to others in the discipline.
3. Conduct a literature search. Once the research problem is identified, a literature
search should be conducted before proceeding to design the experiment. It is
helpful to know what studies have been performed, the designs, the instruments
used, the procedures and the findings. This information will guide the researcher
and help them create a project that extends or compliments existing research.
4. Construct a hypothesis. In this step, the researcher states the research question
as a hypothesis. This provides the basis for all other decisions in the process and
therefore, it is a critical step.
5. Determine the design of the research. The researcher should review the
hypothesis and verify that an experimental design is the appropriate research
design needed to answer the question. Additional information regarding different
types of experimental research design will be covered in the next module.
6. Determine the research methods. In this step, the researcher will identify and plan
the details necessary to conduct the research. This includes identifying the test
subjects, materials, data collection instruments and methods, and the procedures
for the conducting the experiment.
7. Conduct the research and test the hypothesis. The experimental procedures will
be carried out in this phase.
8. Analyze the data. Experimental research data lends itself to a variety of potential
statistical analyses. The appropriate analysis is determined by the research
question and the type of data.
9. Formulate conclusions. Review the data and determine if it confirms or disproves
the hypothesis.
The practical steps needed for planning and conducting an experiment include:
recognizing the goal of the experiment, choice of factors, choice of response, choice of
the design, analysis and then drawing conclusions. This pretty much covers the steps
involved in the scientific method.

1. Recognition and statement of the problem

2. Choice of factors, levels, and ranges
3. Selection of the response variable(s)
4. Choice of design
5. Conducting the experiment
6. Statistical analysis
7. Drawing conclusions, and making recommendations
We usually talk about” treatment" factors, which are the factors of primary interest to you.
In addition to treatment factors, there are nuisance factors which are not your primary
focus, but you must deal with them. Sometimes these are called blocking factors, mainly
because we will try to block on these factors to prevent them from influencing the results.

There are other ways that we can categorize factors:

Experimental vs. Classification Factors

Experimental Factors - these are factors that you can specify (and set the levels)
and then assign at random as the treatment to the experimental units. Examples
would be temperature, level of an additive fertilizer amount per acre, etc.
Classification Factors - can't be changed or assigned, these come as labels on the
experimental units. The age and sex of the participants are classification factors
which can't be changed or randomly assigned. But you can select individuals from
these groups randomly.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Factors

Quantitative Factors - you can assign any specified level of a quantitative factor.
Examples: percent or pH level of a chemical.
Qualitative Factors - have categories which are different types. Examples might be
species of a plant or animal, a brand in the marketing field, gender, - these are not
ordered or continuous but are arranged perhaps in sets.

Levels, or settings of each factor in the study.

Response, or output of the experiment. Experimenters often desire to avoid optimizing

the process for one response at the expense of another. For this reason, important
outcomes are measured and analyzed to determine the factors and their settings that will
provide the best overall outcome for the critical-to-quality characteristics - both
measurable variables and assessable attributes.
A Checklist for Planning Experiments

The steps in the following checklist summarize a very large number of decisions that
need to be made at each stage of the experimental planning process. The steps are
not independent, and at any stage, it may be necessary to go back and revise some
of the decisions made at an earlier stage.


a) Define the objectives of the experiment.

A list should be made of the precise questions that are to be addressed by the
experiment. It is this list that helps to determine the decisions required at the
subsequent stages of the checklist. It is advisable to list only the essential questions,
since side issues will unnecessarily complicate the experiment, increasing both the
cost and the likelihood of mistakes.

b) Identify all sources of variation, including:

A source of variation is anything that could cause an observation to have a different
numerical value from another observation. Some sources of variation are minor,
producing only small differences in the data. Others are major and need to be
planned for in the experiment.
Major sources of variation can be divided into two types: those that are of
interest to the experimenter, called “treatment factors,” and those that are not of
interest, called “nuisance factors.”

i. treatment factors and their levels,

 Treatment factor is used to mean any substance or item whose effect on
the data is to be studied.
 The levels are the specific types or amounts of the treatment factor that will
be used in the experiment.
 For example, a treatment factor might be a drug or a chemical additive or
temperature or teaching method, etc. The levels of such treatment factors
might be the different amounts of the drug to be studied, different types of
chemical additives to be considered, selected temperature settings in the
range of interest, different teaching methods to be compared, etc. Few
experiments involve more than four levels per treatment factor.

ii. experimental units,

 Experimental units are the “material” to which the levels of the treatment
factor(s) are applied.
 For example, in agriculture these would be individual plots of land, in
medicine they would be human or animal subjects, in industry they might
be batches of raw material, factory workers, etc. If an experiment must be
run over a period, with the observations being collected sequentially, then
the times of day can also be regarded as experimental units

iii. blocking factors, noise factors, and covariates.

An important part of designing an experiment is to enable the effects of the
nuisance factors to be distinguished from those of the treatment factors. There
are several ways of dealing with nuisance factors, depending on their nature.

c) Choose a rule for assigning the experimental units to the treatments.

The assignment rule, or the experimental design, specifies which experimental units
are to be observed under which treatments. The choice of design, which may or may
not involve blocking factors, depends upon all the decisions made so far in the
 A completely randomized design is the name given to a design in which the
experimenter assigns the experimental units to the treatments completely at
random, subject only to the number of observations to be taken on each treatment.
Completely randomized designs are used for experiments that involve no blocking
 A block design is a design in which the experimenter partitions the experimental
units into blocks, determines the allocation of treatments to blocks, and assigns
the experimental units within each block to the treatments completely at random.
 When an experiment involves two major sources of variation that have each been
designated as blocking factors, these blocking factors are said to be either crossed
or nested.
o Crossed Blocking Factors. A design involving two crossed blocking factors
is sometimes called a “row–column” design. This is due to the pictorial
representation of the design, in which the levels of one blocking factor are
represented by rows and the levels of the second are represented by columns
o Nested (or Hierarchical) Blocking Factors. Two blocking factors are said to
be nested when observations taken at two different levels of one blocking
factor are automatically at two different levels of the second blocking factor
 A split-plot design is a design with at least one blocking factor where the
experimental units within each block are assigned to the treatment factor levels as
usual, and in addition, the blocks are assigned at random to the levels of a further
treatment factor. This type of design is used when the levels of one (or more)
treatment factors are easy to change, while the alteration of levels of other
treatment factors are costly, or time-consuming.

d) Specify the measurements to be made, the experimental procedure, and the

anticipated difficulties.
The units in which the measurements are to be made should be specified, and
these should reflect the objectives of the experiment.
Precise directions should be listed as to how the measurements are to be made.
This might include details of the measuring instruments to be used, the time at
which the measurements are to be made, the way in which the measurements
are to be recorded. It is important that everyone involved in running the
experiment follow these directions exactly. It is advisable to draw up a data
collection sheet that shows the order in which the observations are to be made
and the units of measurement.

e) Run a pilot experiment.

A pilot experiment is a mini experiment involving only a few observations. No
conclusions are necessarily expected from such an experiment. It is run to aid in the
completion of the checklist. It provides an opportunity to practice the experimental
technique and to identify unsuspected problems in the data collection.

f) Specify the model.

The model must indicate explicitly the relationship that is believed to exist between
the response variable and the major sources of variation that were identified at step
(b). The techniques used in the analysis of the experimental data will depend upon
the form of the model. It is important, therefore, that the model represent the true
relationship reasonably accurately.
 The most common type of model is the linear model, which shows the response
variable set equal to a linear combination of terms representing the major sources
of variation plus an error term representing all the minor sources of variation taken
 A model containing only fixed-effect factors (apart from the response and error
random variables) is called a fixed-effects model. (fixed effect if the factor levels
have been specifically selected by the experimenter and if the experimenter is
interested in comparing the effects on the response variable of these specific
 Models for which all factors are random effects are called random-effects
models. (random effect-a factor has an extremely large number of possible levels,
and the levels included in the experiment are a random sample from the population
of all possible levels.)
 Models for which some factors are random effects and others are fixed effects are
called mixed models.
g) Outline the analysis.
The type of analysis that will be performed on the experimental data depends on the
objectives determined in step (a), the design selected in step (c), and its associated
model specified in step (f). The entire analysis should be outlined (including hypotheses
to be tested and confidence intervals to be calculated). The analysis not only
determines the calculations at step (h), but also verifies that the design is suitable for
achieving the objectives of the experiment.
h) Calculate the number of observations that need to be taken.
At this stage in the checklist, a calculation should be done for the number of
observations that are needed in order to achieve the objectives of the experiment. If
too few observations are taken, then the experiment may be inconclusive. If too many
are taken, then time, energy, and money are needlessly expended.

i) Review the above decisions. Revise, if necessary

Revision is necessary when the number of observations calculated at step (h)
exceeds the number that can reasonably be taken within the time or budget available.
Revision must begin at step (a), since the scope of the experiment usually must be
narrowed. If revisions are not necessary, then the data collection may commence.

Preparing a Coordination Schema of the Whole Research Plan

Preparing a coordination schema of the research plan may be another useful tool in
undertaking research planning. While preparing a coordination schema, one may have
to identify the broad variable in the form of parameters, complex variables and
disaggregate those in the form of simple variables. Coordination Schema: A
Methodological Tool in Research Planning by Purnima Mohapatra is a very useful tool.
Arranging everything in a schema not only makes the research more organized, it also
saves a lot of valuable time for the researcher.

 1.3 - Steps for Planning, Conducting and Analyzing an Experiment. (n.d.).

Retrieved from

 6 steps in planning a survey that will help you avoid the most common mistakes.
(2019, January 09). Retrieved from

 Dean, A., Voss, D., & Draguljic, D. (2017). Planning Experiments. Retrieved from

 Design of Experiments (DOE). (n.d.). Retrieved from

 Baraceros, E. L. (2016). Practical Research 2(1st ed.). Manila, Philippines: Rex


 Martyn Shuttleworth (May 24, 2008). Conducting an Experiment. Retrieved Jan

26, 2019 from

 Rawley, E. (2017, June 06). Planning and Conducting Surveys. Retrieved from

 Tierney, S. (2008). A brief guide to conducting surveys (mail, telephone or face to

face). Retrieved January, from Step by Step Guide to
Conducting a Survey.pdf

 Section 13. Conducting Surveys. (n.d.). Retrieved from


 Sheldon, B. and Chilvers, R. (2000) Evidence-based social care: A study of

prospects and problems. Russell House Publishing: Lyme Regis.