You are on page 1of 13




Survey is a type of research to collect the data and facts
about some certain situation or issue from the target
population existing in surroundings having relevance
to the nature of study.
Surveys are based on the desire to collect information in
which information is gathered through oral or written
Data collection through survey involves persuasion of
respondents and then on some level social interaction
between the respondents and the research
interviewer. A team effort of many people having
diverse skills. surveys are now used in all areas of life.
For example business, politics, agriculture, industry,
education, media etc.

Types of Surveys on the

basis of frequency of data
Cross-sectional surveys
• Collects information from a sample that has been
drawn from a predetermined population
• The information is collected at just one point in time
Longitudinal surveys
• Information is collected at different points in time in
order to study changes over time
Trend study
Different samples from a population whose members may
change are surveyed at different points in time
Cohort study
A particular population whose members do not change
over the course of the survey
Panel study
The researcher surveys the same samples of individuals at
different times during the course of the survey
Process of a Survey
It may appear that conducting a survey is a simple
procedure of asking questions and then compiling
answers to produce statistics. However, a survey
must be carried out step by step, following
procedures and formulas, if the results are to yield
accurate and meaningful information. In order to
understand the entire process it is necessary to
understand the individual tasks and how they are
interconnected and related.
The steps of a survey are:
- formulation of the Statement of Objectives;
- selection of a survey frame;
- determination of the sample design;
- questionnaire design;
- data collection;
- data capture and coding;
- editing and imputation;
- estimation;
- data analysis;
- data dissemination;
- documentation.
A brief description of each step follows.
1. Formulation of the Statement of Objectives
One of the most important tasks in a survey is to formulate the
Statement of Objectives. This establishes
not only the survey’s broad information needs, but the
operational definitions to be used, the specific
topics to be addressed and the analysis plan. This step of the
survey determines what is to be included in
the survey and what is to be excluded; what the client needs to
know versus what would be nice to know.
How to formulate objectives and determine survey content is
explained in
2. Selection of a Survey Frame
The survey frame provides the means of identifying and
contacting the units of the survey population.
The frame is in the form of a list, for example:
- a physical list such as a data file, computer printout or a
telephone book;
- a conceptual list, for example a list of all vehicles that enter the
parking lot of a shopping centre
between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on any given day;
- a geographic list in which the units on the list correspond to
geographical areas and the units within
the geographical areas are households, farms, businesses, etc.
3. Determination of the Sample Design
There are two kinds of surveys: sample surveys and census
surveys. In a sample survey, data are
collected for only a fraction (typically a very small fraction) of
units of the population while in a census
survey, data are collected for all units in the population. Two
types of sampling exist: non-probability
sampling and probability sampling. Non-probability sampling
provides a fast, easy and inexpensive way
of selecting units from the population but uses a subjective
method of selection.
4. Questionnaire Design
A questionnaire (or form) is a group or sequence of
questions designed to obtain information on a
subject from a respondent. Questionnaires play a central
role in the data collection process since they
have a major impact on data quality and influence the
image that the statistical agency projects to the
public. Questionnaires can either be in paper or
computerised format.
5. Data Collection
Data collection is the process of gathering the required
information for each selected unit in the
survey. The basic methods of data collection are self-
enumeration, where the respondent completes the
questionnaire without the assistance of an interviewer,
and interviewer-assisted (either through personal
or telephone interviews). Other methods of data
collection include direct observation, electronic data
reporting and the use of administrative data.
Data collection can be paper-based or computer-assisted.
6. Data Capture and Coding
After the data are collected, they are coded and, if a
computer-assisted collection method was not used,
captured. Coding is the process of assigning a numerical
value to responses to facilitate data capture
and processing in general.
7. Editing and Imputation
Editing is the application of checks to identify missing,
invalid or inconsistent entries that point to data
records that are potentially in error. The purpose of
editing is to better understand the survey processes
and the survey data in order to ensure that the final
survey data are complete, consistent and valid. Edits
can range from simple manual checks performed by
interviewers in the field to complex verifications
performed by a computer program. The amount of
editing performed is a trade-off between getting every
record ‘perfect’ and spending a reasonable amount of
resources (time and money) achieving this goal.
8. Estimation
Once the data have been collected, captured, coded,
edited and imputed, the next step is estimation.
Estimation is the means by which the statistical agency
obtains values for the population of interest so
that it can draw conclusions about that population
based on information gathered from only a sample
of the population. An estimate may be a total, mean,
ratio, percentage, etc.
For a sample survey, the basis of estimation is the unit’s
weight, which indicates the average number of
population units it represents. A population total can be
estimated, for example, by summing the weighted
values of the sampled units
9. Data Analysis
Data analysis involves summarising the data and
interpreting their meaning in a way that provides
answers to questions that initiated the survey. Data
analysis should relate the survey results to the
questions and issues identified by the Statement of
Objectives. It is one of the most crucial steps of a
survey since the quality of the analysis can substantially
affect the usefulness of the whole survey.
10. Data Dissemination
Data dissemination is the release of the survey data to
users through various media, for example,
through a press release, a television or radio interview, a
telephone or facsimile response to a special
request, a paper publication, a microfiche, electronic
media including the Internet or a microdata file on a
CD, etc..
Delivery and presentation of the final results is very
important. It should be easy for the users to find,
understand, use and interpret the survey results correctly.
11. Documentation
Documentation provides a record of the survey and
should encompass every survey step and every survey
phase. It may record different aspects of the survey and
be aimed at different groups, such as
management, technical staff, designers of other surveys
and users. For example, a report on data quality
provides users a context for informed use of the data
Process of Survey(explained
in brief)
Step 1:-
• Define the problem and develop Hypotheses.
• Decide on type of survey (mail,interview, telephone).
• Write survey questions.
• Decide on response categories.
• Design layout.

Step 2:-
• Plan how to record data.
• Pilot test survey instrument.
• Revise the instrument.

Step 3:-
• Decide on target population.
• Get sampling frame.
• Decide on sampling size.
• Select sample.

Step 4:-
• Locate respondents.
• Conduct interviews.
• Carefully record data.
Step 5 :-
• Enter data into computers.
• Recheck all data.
• Perform statistical analysis on data.

Step 6:-
• Describe methods and findings in research report.
• Present findings to others for critique and evaluation.
Types of survey methods
• Mailed questionnaire.
• Personal interview.
• Telephone interview.

The Mailed Questionnaire

• It is one of the most important data collection survey
• Mail survey involves sending a cover letter and a
questionnaire to a specific person.
• The cover letter states the purpose sponsor
instructions and time of return.
• The questionnaire- totally self explanatory, clear and
• Low cost.
• Reduction in biasing
• Greater anonymity.
• Accessibility.
• Less time & trained
• Requires simple questions.
• No probing opportunity.
• No control over who fills.
• Low response rate.
Personal Interviews
Interviewing is a form of questioning characterized by the
fact that it employs verbal questioning. Together with
the questionnaire , interviews make up the survey
method, which is one of the most popular technique
of data collection.
• Flexibility in questioning.
• Control over the interview situation.
• High response rate.
• Collection of supplement data.
• Higher cost.
• Interviewer bias.
• Respondent’s hesitation on sensitive topics.
• Greater staff requirement.
Telephone Interview
Telephone interview demonstrates the same structural
characteristics as standard interviewing technique,
except that it is conducted by telephone.
• Moderate cost.
• Less time consumption.
• Higher response rate.
• Quality (Supervision , Recording)
• Hesitation to discuss sensitive topics.
• The “Broken-Off ”interviews.
• No supplement information.