Surveys vs. Questionnaires: Your Ultimate Guide

You might wonder if a survey is the same thing as a questionnaire. Don’t worry; you’re not alone! Although they seem similar, surveys and questionnaires are two quite different things. Before you start building out your next survey or questionnaire on SurveyPlanet, learn what makes each unique and then decide which one works best for your objective.


A survey is a series of questions a company or organization asks to gain insight or data from a set of respondents. Survey questions are typically closed-ended with few short-form answers. Surveys sometimes include question branching, which takes survey users to specific questions based on their previous answers. Question branching helps to ensure the company is collecting as customized, relevant data from their clients as possible. Surveys also include the process of aggregating and analyzing results to draw conclusions. If your ultimate goal is to learn more about your respondents and use the data to address problem areas, a survey is the right choice for you.


A questionnaire serves the simple purpose of collecting data through a set of questions. Data is collected to get a brief overview, not as a way to understand the big picture or reasons behind it. A questionnaire features similar content to a survey, but without the analysis side to it. If you want to ask respondents a series of questions because you want quick and easy answers, a questionnaire is the best choice for you.

Pros and Cons of Surveys

When deciding between surveys vs. questionnaires, it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons first. Surveys have many different pros. To start, surveys can save you money on research costs. Since surveys gather lots of significant data, you may not need to conduct other research outside of the survey. They also allow you to gather opinions to understand what’s trending in the market.

Another pro is that surveys are quick and easy to create, especially with SurveyPlanet. With our pre-made questions and themes, you can pick out exactly what you need to send. Upgrade your SurveyPlanet account to gain access to white labeling, custom themes and special survey features like question branching.

As for the cons, surveys are not always accurate to draw conclusions. Often, if your survey is too long or if you send surveys too frequently, your respondents may experience survey fatigue, which can lead to response bias. In addition, if you ask the wrong questions, you won’t be able to answer your own questions or draw conclusions. Each survey question should serve a purpose – that’s why it’s important to create questions that address the issues you really need answers to.

Sometimes it’s also difficult to find enough people to take your survey. To combat this problem, SurveyPlanet offers an audience service where you can purchase participants to take your survey. This saves you the trouble of finding respondents on your own.

Pros and Cons of Questionnaires

When choosing between surveys vs. questionnaires, the decision comes down to your end goal. Do you want to gain general insight or do you want to draw conclusions? Learning the pros and cons of questionnaires might help answer your question. As for the pros, to start, questionnaires are easy and inexpensive. With SurveyPlanet, you can create a free account to send unlimited questionnaires and gather unlimited responses. Questionnaires are a practical way to collect data and obtain quick results. If you have a question you want your audience to answer for you, a questionnaire is a perfect way to do it. Log into SurveyPlanet to start creating your questionnaire today!

On the flip side, questionnaires don’t give you as much data to analyze as a survey, meaning you won’t be able to draw in-depth conclusions. It’s also possible for respondents to give biased answers. They might even misinterpret your questions, which can lead to inaccurate responses. Lastly, questionnaires don’t take into account the behavior of the respondent, like physical reactions, gestures or emotions.

When to Use a Survey

Now that you know the pros and cons of surveys vs. questionnaires, you might wonder when the best time to use them is. Surveys are best when you want to evaluate data from a series of questions. Some reasons you might use a survey include:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Event feedback
  • Website feedback
  • Market research
  • Product research
  • Target market analysis
  • Employee satisfaction

When to Use a Questionnaire

Questionnaires, on the other hand, are ideal for finding out different people’s opinions without taking the extra step of gathering and analyzing data. Some reasons you might send a questionnaire include:

  • Health Assessment
  • Screenings
  • Self-assessments
  • Risk assessments
  • Employee Performance

Now that you understand surveys vs. questionnaires, decide which one is right for you and then log in to SurveyPlanet to get started. Our platform features pre-made questions, beautiful themes and unlimited surveys and responses. If you want to take your survey or questionnaire to the next level, consider upgrading to a Pro account. Gain access to our exclusive Pro features, including question branching, custom themes, uploading images and exporting results in various formats. Sign up today!

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