Survey research is often used to assess thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Survey research can be specific and limited, or it can have more global, widespread goals. Today, survey research is used by a variety of different groups. Psychologists and sociologists often use survey research to analyze behavior, while it is also used to meet the more pragmatic needs of the media, such as, in evaluating political candidates, public health officials, professional organizations, and advertising and marketing directors
A good sample selection is key as it allows one to generalize the findings from the sample to the population, which is the whole purpose of survey research
Surveys can be divided into two broad categories: the questionnaire and the interview. Questionnaires are usually paper-and-pencil instruments that the respondent completes. Interviews are completed by the interviewer based on the respondent says. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between a questionnaire and an interview. For instance, some people think that questionnaires always ask short closed-ended questions while interviews always ask broad open-ended ones. But you will see questionnaires with open-ended questions (although they do tend to be shorter than in interviews) and there will often be a series of closed-ended questions asked in an interview.
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.
Advantages of Survey research
1. High Representativeness
Surveys provide a high level of general capability in representing a large population. Due to the usual huge number of people who answers survey, the data being gathered possess a better description of the relative characteristics of the general population involved in the study. As compared to other methods of data gathering, surveys are able to extract data that are near to the exact attributes of the larger population.
2. Low Costs
When conducting surveys, you only need to pay for the production of survey questionnaires. If you need a larger sample of the general population, you can allot an incentive in cash or kind, which can be as low as $2 per person. On the other hand, other data gathering methods such as focus groups and personal interviews require researchers to pay more.
3. Convenient Data Gathering
Surveys can be administered to the participants through a variety of ways. The questionnaires can simply be sent via e-mail or fax, or can be administered through the Internet. Nowadays, the online survey method has been the most popular way of gathering data from target participants. Aside from the convenience of data gathering, researchers are able to collect data from people around the globe.
4. Good Statistical Significance
Because of the high representativeness brought about by the survey method, it is often easier to find statistically significant results than other data gathering methods. Multiple variables can also be effectively analyzed using surveys.
5. Little or No Observer Subjectivity
Surveys are ideal for scientific research studies because they provide all the participants with a standardized stimulus. With such high reliability obtained, the researcher’s own biases are eliminated.
6. Precise Results
As questions in the survey should undergo careful scrutiny and standardization, they provide uniform definitions to all the subjects who are to answer the questionnaires. Thus, there is a greater precision in terms of measuring the data gathered.
Disadvantages of Survey research
1. Inflexible Design
The survey that was used by the researcher from the very beginning, as well as the method of administering it, cannot be changed all throughout the process of data gathering. Although this inflexibility can be viewed as a weakness of the survey method, this can also be a strength considering the fact that preciseness and fairness can both be exercised in the study.
2. Not Ideal for Controversial Issues
Questions that bear controversies may not be precisely answered by the participants because of the probably difficulty of recalling the information related to them. The truth behind these controversies may not be relieved as accurately as when using alternative data gathering methods such as face-to-face interviews and focus groups.

3. Possible Inappropriateness of Questions
Questions in surveys are always standardized before administering them to the subjects. The researcher is therefore forced to create questions that are general enough to accommodate the general population. However, these general questions may not be as appropriate for all the participants as they should be.
A good example of this situation is administering a survey which focuses on affective variables, or variables that deal with emotions.
Survey research can be seen as a method of sociological investigation that uses question based or statistical surveys to collect information about how people think and act. For example, a possible application of survey research to a business context might involve looking at how effective mass media is in helping form and shift public opinion.

Survey research has changed dramatically in the last ten years. We have automated telephone surveys that use random dialing methods. There are computerized kiosks in public places that allows people to ask for input. A whole new variation of group interview has evolved as focus group methodology. Increasingly, survey research is tightly integrated with the delivery of service. Your hotel room has a survey on the desk. Your waiter presents a short customer satisfaction survey with your check. You get a call for an interview several days after your last call to a computer company for technical assistance. You’re asked to complete a short survey when you visit a web site. Here, I’ll describe the major types of questionnaires and interviews, keeping in mind that technology are leading to rapid evolution of methods.
Sarah Mae Sincero (Mar 18, 2012). Advantages and Disadvantages of Surveys. Retrieved Sep 03, 2014 from

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