Survey research is an invaluable tool for all types of organizations. It's a crucial strategy in obtaining attitudes, opinions, concerns, priorities, needs, characteristics, and wants of a targeted group of interest.
By creating a questionnaire using survey software, collecting responses from a targeted sample, and analyzing the resulting data, organizations can identify problems, spot trends, and gauge its population's pulse easily and efficiently. While a survey can be conducted to capture a snapshot at a point in time, repeated use of survey research can reveal consumer tendencies and problem situations before they become insurmountable.
Survey research can be applied to many different objectives -- from customer satisfaction surveys to employee morale to patient fulfillment. For a for-profit business, survey research can help drive a competitive advantage through increased customer satisfaction or through improved employee retention. For an educational institute, survey research in the form of a training evaluation survey tool can help teachers be more effective and students learn better. And for a manufacturing company, a market research survey can provide insight on potential new product offerings before hefty costs go into developing the product. The uses and applications of survey research is practically limitless.
Research in the form of surveys provides prized information in all kinds of industries and fields, including science, health, sociology, politics, marketing, human resource, and public opinion, to name just a few. Survey research can focus on different areas, including behavior (such as consumer buying preferences), politics (such as presidential candidates), and quantifiable factual demographic information (such as income, educational level or geographic location).
However, survey research should be properly designed and fittingly implemented to ensure the best results. Even a small mistake in survey design or survey administration can lead to erroneous findings or skewed data. For example, if the purpose of your survey is vague, then chances are your data will be less meaningful had you had a clear vision and goal of your survey's purpose.
Yet, these types of survey tool faux pas's and pitfalls can be eliminated through the use of online survey software. With advanced logic, like branching -- where questions are carefully constructed and plotted -- survey software can help users make a more informed conclusion.
In other words, you can conduct a survey of poor quality and receive little value. Or you can conduct a survey of high quality and have it yield real value.
In the end, effective survey research is based upon a number of key elements, including the target population, sample size, survey design, survey methodology, sampling statistics, survey administration, and survey analysis. The success or failure of any research effort depends, at least in part, on these factors. It also depends upon the use of the survey results. Will the results ultimately be used to improve a process, product, or service?
All-in-all, survey research is a broad term, which can be carried out in a multitude of ways, and can be used beneficially in even more applications.