There is a great deal of confusion when it comes to clarifying the terms questionnaire and survey. The words are often used interchangeably which adds to the issue, however, the terms do not mean the same thing.
To clarify, there are two aspects that set apart a questionnaire from a survey.
A questionnaire is used for collecting information via a set of written questions.
A questionnaire does not utilize collated data for the purpose of statistical analysis.
A questionnaire is defined as a set of written or printed questions with a choice of answers, and there is no limit to the amount of people who can complete a questionnaire. The responses are never used for studies or research purposes.
Questionnaires are simple, and cheap, however they are impractical in terms of collating information from a large number of individuals.
On the other hand, a survey involves the gathering of experiences or opinions of a group of people for statistical analysis purposes. The responses to the questions asked are analyzed to draw a conclusion.
Put simply, a questionnaire is the set of questions used to gather information and is a tool used in a survey, whereas, a survey is the process of collating and analyzing the data. A survey encompasses all aspects of the process of research, including:
What is a survey questionnaire?
- Response analysis
- Data collection
- Sampling method
- Research design
- Survey construction
- Surveys can be conducted in various ways, including:
- Phone interviews
- In the home
- In the mall
Before the internet, the definitions of the words survey and questionnaire were not as confused as they are today. Through the evolution of DIY research, and online surveys, the meaning of a questionnaire has changed.
It used to be that questionnaires were completed via the filling out of a paper form. If the data was to be used for research purposes, it was dealt with manually, then analyzed by real people.
Nowadays, online survey software combines the process of gathering and analyzing the data. One single survey tool can now do everything in one, in turn making the process far quicker, and easier. The term survey questionnaire is used to describe a questionnaire tool that is used for survey purposes, and not just simply to collect data.
Survey software has three main benefits over traditional methods of collating and analyzing information:
Economy – Online survey questionnaires are a cheap, and fast way to collect data, as there is no manpower needed to conduct interviews, and no hard copies of the documents are needed.
Tabulated answers – It is far easier to tabulate results as survey software utilizes enclosed answer options.
Standardized questions – Asking standardized questions makes it far easier to compare results.
There are very marked differences between a questionnaire, a survey, and a survey questionnaire. Hopefully, this article has clarified for you what can sometimes appear to be a gray area.