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In research of human subjects, a survey is a list of questions aimed at extracting specific data from a particular group of people. Surveys may be conducted by phone, mail, via the internet, and sometimes face-to-face on busy street corners or in malls. Surveys are used to increase knowledge in fields such as social research and demography.

  • Collection of self-reported information about thoughts, feelings, perceptions, behaviors, or attitudes
  • This is an efficient tool for collecting a lot of versatile data in a short time frame, with results that can be analyzed statistically.
  • Survey questionnaires can be either self-completed or read to participants and completed by the researcher.
  • Interviews can be conducted in person, by phone, or through various communication technologies.
  • Like any self-reporting, surveys may not accurately reflect true thoughts, feelings, perceptions, or behaviors.
  • Surveys should therefore be carefully designed and administered and paired with complementary methods such as observations or contextual inquiry.
  • There are various types of questions: closed/open, general/specific, factual, hypothetical, judgmental, and comparative.
  • Questions should avoid leading to an answer or blaming the participant as wrong or at fault.

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