Survey research is one of the most important areas of measurement in applied social research. The broad area of survey research encompasses any measurement procedures that involve asking questions of respondents. A “survey” can be anything form a short paper-and-pencil feedback form to an intensive one-on-one in-depth interview.
We’ll begin by looking at the different types of surveys that are possible. These are roughly divided into two broad areas: Questionnaires and Interviews. Next, we’ll look at how you select the survey method that is best for your situation. Once you’ve selected the survey method, you have to construct the survey itself. Here, we will be addressing a number of issues including: the different types of questions; decisions about question content; decisions about question wording; decisions about response format; and, question placement and sequence in your instrument. We turn next to some of the special issues involved in administering a personal interview. Finally, we’ll consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of survey methods.