Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Environment of surveys

     Today in the business world companies do not only want to satisfy the needs of the customers, they would like to be better then the other competitors. Selling the good old, but still successful products is not the best goal in the future of the businesses. They are different things what the company assumes the customers need and what they really need. Information about the customers, their habits, their financial behavior set against their particular demographic, these key points are extremely valuable data for companies or other researching institutions. In this part of our group blog I am going to investigate the environment of surveys.

Surveys can be conducted through different types of mediums such as telephone, mail, face to face or on many other Internet platforms. The method of data collection depends on the information to be collected and on the budget. The most successful survey is gathering information from people from the same interest groups thus it would be more likely that the collected data is valid. It is also very important to to define the aim of the survey which means that surveys can be made for business, educational, non- profit or scientific purposes. For instance in business sector the application of phone surveys are more common than in education area.

The following list describes the methods of surveys including their use, advantages and drawbacks.

E-mail survey: (Commonly used in all areas) 


  •  Fast results 
  •  Easy to modify 
  •  Data sets are created in real time 
  •  Inexpensive in most cases 
  •  Large sample size 


  • Honesty of responses can be an issue 
  • If not password protected, easy to manipulate by completing multiple times. 
Telephone: (mainly businesses) 


  • Higher response rate
  • Good for large sampling frames 
  • Higher validity of answer 


  • More time consuming
  • Might be expensive (international surveys) 
  • Might be annoying to the subjects to be contacted on phone 

Online survey: (used by all areas) 


  • Very fast results
  • Easy to modify
  • Used in large scale of industries 
  • Cheap and very efficient
  • Easy to target certain interest groups (i.e Facebook) 
  • Easy to process the data
  • Large sample size 


  • Difficult to validate the gathered data
  • Subject might not give complete/ honest answers
  • Not suitable for people who do not use computers 

Face to face interviews: 


  • Face to face communication- more honest answers
  • Subject are more likely to give more accurate and detailed answers (qualitative data) 


  • Some people do not like to talk about personal information (prefer to write)
  • Time consuming 
  • Expensive 
  • Smaller sample size 

Organisations and scientific institutions have to consider these aspects before they decide about the method of surveys and they also have to find the balance between cheap and quality research.

Conducting the surveys still has ambiguities that need to be handled or solved. Would there be a more efficient and cheaper method? How can technology help to develop surveys?

At this stage the only limit is the technology and the knowledge of subjects about technology…


Statistical survey


  1. Hi Csaba, Great job mate, In addition to your post; I think if one is thinking of conducting interviews, it would be wise to note that interviews are "time-consuming",and also require "careful planning, arrangements to visit, securing permissions which may take time, and confirming arrangements" (Robson,2002, p. 273).
    The other problem with interviews is that they may be subject to interviewer bias.

    Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research (2nd Ed.). oxford: Blackwell Publishing

  2. Hi there, nice post and a good source of information. It really shows that you're an expert in this field. I'm looking for some data collection methods in this site. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up!

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