Survey Methods in Research Psychology

One of the quantitative methods used for examining a big sample is the descriptive research approach, which is non-experimental (that is, it does not include any observation under controlled conditions). In a survey study, the researcher gathers information from a sample of respondents from a population using standardized questionnaires or interviews. A population is sometimes referred to as the study's universe and is defined as a group of individuals or objects that share at least one trait. One method of applied social research, survey research, can be useful for gathering data directly (through direct face-to-face interviews, for example) and indirectly (through indirect observation).

What is Survey?

There are surveys utilized practically everywhere in life. Consumer advocacy organizations, advertising companies, and political parties use polls to inform their judgments. For instance, marketers conduct customer surveys to learn about their preferences for various goods. Voters are frequently polled by political parties to get their feedback on candidates and election results. The media often informs the public of numerous survey findings, highlighting survey research's value.

Types of Survey

The two main categories of surveys are descriptive and analytical. In other words, surveys may be used to both describe and explain phenomena.

A descriptive survey attempts to provide a picture of or record the current circumstances or attitudes at a specific time. In a descriptive study on the working circumstances of women in the unorganized sector, for instance, the issues women experience with access to finance, safety, a steady income, and health issues are all included. Researchers are interested in learning about people's lives, opinions, values, and behavior in a particular region while conducting descriptive surveys.

Analytical survey makes an effort to justify why specific situations arise. Large volumes of data are gathered for this research strategy to analyze two or more factors and their impact on a dependent variable. For instance, it is possible to forecast the sales of specific consumer items, such as washing machines, by studying women's lives. In order to get to conclusions for the research, analytical surveys also examine the correlations between variables. For instance, a quantitative analysis of women's access to healthcare will examine information on their area of residence (urban/rural), age, education, income, and interaction with healthcare professionals to make inferences about their health-seeking behavior.

Steps Involved in Conducting Survey Research

Any survey study adheres to these organized steps−

Step 1: Determination of the aims and objectives of the study

The researcher must first identify and evaluate the pertinent topics or problems that need to be investigated. The fundamental aims and objectives must be explicit after the researcher has chosen the study field. To make the research's aim relevant and clear, they must be narrowed down and analyzed. The researchers must develop the fundamental goals and objectives that will be analyzed and targeted in their investigation.

Step 2: Define the population to be studied

The target demographic that the researcher will study must also be determined when the research subject has been chosen. As previously said, the population or universe would be a group of individuals or things that share at least one trait. This would be advantageous and will also provide the study process direction.

Step 3: Design and construct a survey

The researcher must create survey research after defining the target population. The study decides to perform a survey based on the specified design and chooses the instrument for the survey (for instance, a telephone interview) with which data will be gathered. The researcher conducts a pilot study (a brief survey performed prior to a larger inquiry or research) after choosing the instrument. The pilot study aids in the researcher's analysis of the importance and applicability of the instruments used for the current investigation.

Step 4: Select a representative sample

The method for choosing a sample from the target population is provided by creating the survey instruments. The researcher chooses a sample that closely approximates the traits of the entire universe or population. The conclusions or findings of the survey done on the sample may be easily generalized to the population as a whole if the sample chosen is a suitable representation of the population.

Step 5: Administer the survey

Following sample selection, the researcher administers the survey using the survey instrument or tool on the chosen sample. This procedure aids in gathering the necessary data or information from the sample.

Step 6: Analyse and interpret the survey findings

Following data collection, the researcher uses the necessary statistical tools to analyze the data before interpreting the results in light of the data obtained. This step entails several procedures, including coding the data and processing it.

Step 7: Prepare the survey report

The researcher creates a report on the overall research completed based on the analysis and interpretation of the data. The report includes the specifics of the purposes, goals, data analysis, interpretation, and discussion of the findings. The researcher attempts to assess how the findings align with the stated aims and objectives of the study at this stage.

Step 8: Communicate the survey findings

Disseminating the survey results is the final and most crucial phase in performing the survey study. The findings must be presented to the intended audience, and it is crucial to document them for future study in a related area. Based on this assessment of the implications of the survey data, the researcher may also suggest specific decision-making policies.

Advantages and Limitations

The benefits of survey research are as follows −

  • Online surveys that you may run yourself are affordable.

  • It may be administered in various and far-flung locales.

  • The findings may handle very large samples, making them statistically significant.

  • The researcher has access to several methods for distributing questionnaires. You can use the choice that is best for you.

  • Standardized data collection tools imply higher validity and reliability.

Although survey design is a helpful research technique, it has several drawbacks.

  • Participants may need help grasping questions that appear straightforward to researchers, or they may not recall responses to inquiries correctly.

  • Some respondents could purposefully provide the researcher with biased replies.

  • Careful question formulation is essential for the data-gathering process in surveys. The researchers must check the validity and reliability of the questions.

  • Surveys are increasingly adopting computer-assisted and internet approaches, which participants may choose to miss.


The process of collecting data from respondents using a questionnaire or interview schedule is known as survey research. According to our research, surveys can range from a quick paper-and-pencil feedback form to a lengthy, in-depth one-on-one interview. Descriptive and analytical surveys are the two main categories. Descriptive surveys are surveys used to characterize phenomena, and Analytical surveys are utilized to explain why certain occurrences occur. Utilizing tactics including organized observation, interviews, and questionnaires, data for the survey is gathered. To obtain respondents' in-depth comprehension of the research subject, interviews can be organized with open-ended or closed-ended questions or unstructured. While choosing the tools for data collection, it is crucial to keep validity and reliability concerns in mind.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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