Surveys as a research method - When are surveys used and why should you use them?

Research is an essential aspect of starting and maintaining a business. It’s used for everything from distinguishing a target market to ensuring employees find their work environment satisfactory. One of the hardest parts of conducting research is determining which method is best.
There are several different research methods to choose from, including experiments, case studies, correlation, interviews, and lastly, survey research and questionnaires. Unfortunately, not all methods are best for every situation.

The survey research method is one of the most popular for several reasons. However, if you’re considering going down this road, it’s important to determine when to use a survey, as well as how to use it.

Survey research is a quantitative method of research, where the researcher asks questions to a group of people in order to gain their feedback about a certain topic. Survey methods use a set of predetermined questions, which are then asked of an entire group of people, or a sample of that group.

There are a lot of different types of survey methods. Each has its advantages. The main types of survey methods are online surveys, mail surveys, telephone surveys, and personal interviews.

The online survey research method is one of the most popular. Its main advantages are its low cost and flexibility. Online surveys can be easily created and generate a large amount of data.

Survey research - When are surveys used and what topics should they cover?

As already mentioned, surveys are a research method with which you collect the opinions of a group of people on a specific topic by asking predetermined questions.

Although online surveys have multiple uses other than conducting research, there are several circumstances in which to regularly use them to collect insight. If you’re wondering when to use a survey, one of the first is to determine if survey research is the right method for you by asking yourself if you need to gain insights into one of the following topics:

Market Research

One of the most common uses of online surveys is for market research, which is a crucial step in launching a successful business, maintaining an already successful one, or determining the success of a new product. Companies use market research to understand their audience’s needs and preferences to make important business decisions.

Employee Satisfaction

On the other side of the business, companies use online surveys to better understand their employees. An employee satisfaction survey provides necessary insights to improve workplace satisfaction and retention rates.

Exit Interview

Although proper survey research methods can help improve the workplace, this doesn’t mean every employee will stick around for life. When it comes time to part ways, an exit interview survey will identify reasons why the employee left and develop insight into improvements the company can make to prevent others from leaving.

Customer Satisfaction

Employee retention is crucial, but so too is customer retention. It’s much easier to nurture customers into becoming repeat buyers than it is to find brand new ones. Adequate survey methods can help a business retain customers. Therefore, customer satisfaction surveys should be used by companies to find out what it takes to keep their customers happy and coming back for more.

Brand Awareness

Are people aware your brand exists? Find out by using brand awareness surveys to discover what others think of your brand and how this compares to rivals in your industry. Such insights help companies stay ahead of competitors and enhance brand awareness.

Event Evaluation

How well did that event go? Using an event evaluation survey gives event planners insight into which aspects of their function went well and what they need to do to make future events better.

If you want precise information about any of the topics listed above, survey research is the best way to get it, and an online survey is the easiest kind of survey to carry out. There are also several other reasons why the survey research method might be the most appropriate method for you.

What are the benefits of survey methods and when to use survey research?

Surveys are an appropriate method of research if you want to:

Collect Quantitative Data

The purpose of survey research is to understand a large group by using statistics to make generalizations. Quantitative data is a value of data that answers questions regarding “how.” For example, the main questions in your survey will ask “How often?” “How many?” or “How much?” Each set of questions will have a numerical value associated with it that will enable you to draw generalizations. For example, 60% of survey respondents reported they would buy a product from your company again in the future. If you have questions that ask “how?” they would like to do so, a survey can help you collect data needed to make subsequent purchases more likely.

Understand a Larger Population

Surveys are also the most appropriate method of research when you want to understand a large population quickly. Not only is it most convenient to send a large group an online survey, but it also provides more accurate results than sending a survey to a smaller population. The larger the population you sample, the less likely you will run into outliers that can create biased conclusions. The smaller your sample size, the larger the margin of error you might potentially encounter. Conducting survey research is only effective for drawing conclusions from large populations.

Draw Insight From a Specific Group

When selling a product, you need to know exactly who your target market is. If you aren’t directing your survey to that target audience, questions won’t relate to them and you won’t get the insight you need. Surveys are an appropriate method of research if you want to draw insight from a specific group of a target audience.

Before creating a survey, make a list of demographic requirements survey respondents will need to meet. If you want to understand how different demographic groups answer similar questions, create a survey using question branching to lead respondents down the inquiry path you want them to take. For example, if you want to collect results based on gender, the first question to ask should be about the respondent’s age group.

Draw Generalized Conclusions Fast

If there’s a burning question you need to be answered quickly, there’s no time to make phone calls or arrange for an in-person focus group. Online surveys are the most appropriate method to collect data and draw conclusions fast. As long as you have a clear goal for the survey and know exactly how you will analyze the data, the survey will provide needed answers in record time. Sending a short survey can prevent you from second-guessing choices and can help you feel more confident in a business decision.

Ask Little to No Open-Ended Questions

If you aren’t looking for answers to open-ended questions, a survey is the most appropriate method of research. The more open-ended questions a survey contains, the less likely respondents will be to complete it. Plus, it also takes more time to analyze the results. If you must ask any open-ended questions, consider capping them at two or three at most. Although open-ended questions are a good way to gather additional insight into a particular topic, they’re more cumbersome for participants to answer. Instead, consider asking more specific multiple-choice questions to find answers without taking as much of your respondents’ time.

Make Your Audience Feel Special

Not only are online surveys a good research method for collecting market insight, but they also provide a great opportunity to make your audience feel special. When a company reaches out to a customer and specifically indicates why they want this person’s opinion, it will make them feel special. When customers feel like they have a voice and that it makes an actual impact, they will feel more inclined to fill out future surveys. When sending the survey to your audience, make sure to include a snippet about how you will use their responses. This small tip can help engage an audience and increase the number of responses.

Save Money

The last reason a survey might be the most appropriate method of research is if you’re working with a tight budget. An online survey platform like SurveyPlanet allows you to create and send an unlimited number of surveys—entirely for free! This means you don’t have to pay anything to collect needed insights. Even if you decide to upgrade to a pro account that offers additional features, it’s still more cost-effective to send an online survey for research purposes than it is to conduct in-person focus groups or experiments.

If you’re searching for a cost-efficient, fast, and effective way to complete research, an online survey is the perfect research method. Sign up for an account with SurveyPlanet today to create your first online survey.

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