A survey is used  to collect data through a questionnaire, which is previously designed with questions, in order to know some characteristics and opinions of a population.

If you want to know what a survey is for, keep reading.

What it is for and what are the benefits of a survey

Surveys are a variety of questions that are asked to an indeterminate number of people in order to gather data or detect public opinion on a specific topic. There is a wide variety, type and structure of surveys, all designed to achieve various objectives.

Create statistics

Its main use is to create studies and demographic statistics, for this different types of surveys are used, including telephone surveys, paper and pencil surveys, personal surveys and web surveys. With the results or data obtained from them, the statistics can be adjusted so that they are more precise.

Measure political preferences

Surveys are mostly the tools used by political parties to measure the number of people who are in their favor during campaign time. This helps to know, which is the political party or candidate that has the highest level of preference on the part of a certain group of the population.

Measure personal preferences and tastes

Companies and companies of high commercial level have the need to use surveys to make sure if the public likes the quality of their products or services. Despite this, it would be very expensive for them to ask each consumer, therefore, they carry out a survey to a certain group of people, which is cheaper and just as effective.

Due to this, those who are in charge of market studies generally apply surveys to find out what decisions they should make and achieve favorable results, using all types of surveys.

Measure social, demographic, and economic studies

These surveys are carried out to be able to know the opinion of citizens regarding specific issues, which can favor or harm their quality of life at the emotional, work, health and educational level. Some of these topics are surveyed to:

  • Measure the effects of some medications.
  • Know the educational levels of the population.
  • Predict the presidential elections.
  • Calculate the preference of one product over another.
  • Know the socioeconomic levels of people.
  • Know the results of the preference of a program.
  • Know whether or not the public likes a certain product or service.

Origin of the survey

The polls originated in the United States of North America, through the investigations that were carried out during electoral times to be able to carry out a statistic of the opinions of the citizens with respect to the presidential candidates.

Crossley and Gallup are very renowned today, as they were the promoters and transmitters of their experience in market research in the field of presidential elections in a safe, effective and transparent manner.

Type of surveys

Each type of survey presents a series of characteristics regarding social status, ideologies, demographic situations, eating habits and various activities. This allows to identify and calculate the needs of each population, what are their properties, effects of various products and their decisions regarding this. They can be classified as follows:

Descriptive surveys

They are all those that reflect and detail the conditions, status, attitudes or current documentation of a situation found in a certain population.

Analytical surveys

These surveys describe and explain the reason for a situation, which leads to a supporting hypothesis that are then contrasted and related by means of variables to be analyzed.

Open polls

In this case, the people surveyed have the possibility to respond with more freedom and detail. You can use questions of how and why according to what is asked and you can even do some that are not planned.

Closed polls

The researchers present a series of questions, where the respondent will have to choose an answer from the options that each question has. The responses will then be quantified in a uniform manner.

Influencing media to capture a survey

There is a great variety of means that are used to carry out a certain survey. Some of them are:

Via telephone

These are used when applying short questionnaires, with a maximum of 10 questions to immediately achieve the desired results, these are based on advertising surveys, policies, reminders, promotions or opinion poll. The success or rejection of these surveys will depend on the skills of the interviewer.

Paper and pencil

Despite technological advances, this medium is still used today. This method is used in places where a physical registration is required and the internet does not exist. This option is safe, reduces costs and the percentage of rejections.

Mobile devices

This type of survey allows the interviewer to record the data directly on a cell phone or tablet without the need for internet access, however, it is not of great advantage, since they are usually expensive and can be risky when done. on public roads because of crime.


These surveys do not require the presence of a pollster, since they are self-administered. They have the disadvantage of a low response rate due to the lack of motivation to get the desired answers, except for those that are financially rewarded.

Disadvantages of surveys

Due to the lack of time, seriousness and honesty of many people, the results of the surveys are not totally reliable, which results in a low estimate in the face of reality. Some of those disadvantages are:

  • The question of privacy and social weakness leads respondents to not be 100% sincere in their responses.
  • Pollsters always expect direct and honest answers, however, it happens many times that people answer without having read the whole question or jump to another, this affects the validity of the data.
  • You should try to keep the survey questions short and simple so that the respondent understands and if it is possible to explain what you are asking, since many people find it difficult to interpret no matter how easy it is.
  • When the survey contains questions that are not mandatory, it may happen that they are omitted by the respondent, resulting in problems in the results.

Conclusion of the use of a survey

Surveys are a method used in order to collect information for various statistical investigations, which can be obtained through questionnaires designed with simple questions that facilitate the understanding and quality of responses from respondents. These surveys have been used over the years to find out the tastes, ideas, actions, habits and opinions of a certain group of people in society.

We hope this interesting topic has been of great interest to you. Thanks for reading!

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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