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All you need to know about Social Surveys

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Table of Contents

What is a Social Survey?

A social survey is most commonly used to describe research done on a social platform or survey software based on sample data collection through a systematic questionnaire or interview. This data is then analyzed numerically and the information is collected.

A Social survey helps study social or public issues and situations as it considers individuals as members of society. Additionally, social surveys lead to the testing of social theories, like problems of the lower class people including poverty, sanitation, illiteracy, crime, prostitution, unemployment, etc. These social surveys are done with a very useful point of view which includes studying and suggesting solutions to these problems.

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A Few Instances of Social Surveys

General Social Survey – Social Identity

This survey helps in gathering data regarding social trends so that it can help track modifications in the living conditions and health of citizens. Also, it provides data on certain social policy issues.

Household and Environment Survey

This survey gathers information regarding the energy used in a specific household to measure its overall impact on the environment. The results from this survey will be very beneficial to frame environmental policies for the development of the country. However, these details can also be utilized for several surveys and research purposes.

Types of Social Surveys

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Social surveys are prepared in advance in a systematic way like in a form of a questionnaire. The social surveys are categorized on the basis of subject matters and question types.

Social Surveys based on Subject Matters

  • General or Specific Survey: This type of survey is without any object or theory and is done by gathering information regarding population and other general issues. However, a specific survey is done for addressing certain issues or problems.
  • Regular or ad hoc surveys: As the name says, surveys that are conducted regularly after particular intervals are Regular Surveys. Those, that are conducted once, are ad hoc surveys. If the area of the survey is large, it may be done in intervals and completed in two or more installments.
  • Preliminary and Final Surveys: Preliminary survey is considered to be done before the final survey and is most commonly called Pilot Study. This survey collects first-hand knowledge for the Final survey to be conducted. On the other hand, the final survey is done after the Prelims or Preliminary Survey.
  • Census and Sample Survey: When everyone is contacted and information is collected from them, it is known as Census Survey. When a small part is considered as a representative and information is gathered from them and is applicable for the complete universe, it is Sample Survey.

Social Surveys based on Question Types

  • Pre-coded or Closed Question Questionnaire: In this type of questionnaire, you need to answer from the limited range provided such as a Yes/ No questionnaire. Apart from a Yes or No questionnaire, the other type is a scaled questionnaire, where the interview just agrees or disagrees with the statement. This type of scaling questionnaire is called the ‘Likert scale’.
  • Open-Ended Question Questionnaire: This type of questionnaire is not that organized as a Pre-coded questionnaire but it still has set questions rather than set answers. It allows interviewees to write their answers or even dictate them.
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Why Do Social Surveys Matter?

Social surveys are an important part of society providing information for its better development. Let’s go through some of the objectives that they strive to achieve:

  • Data Collection from the whole society or community: With the help of individuals, a social survey helps to dive deeper into problems for taking preventive measures.
  • Study of Social Issues: It helps in the study of social issues including those of lower-class families like illiteracy, drinking, unemployment, crime, poverty, poor sanitization, prostitution, etc.
  • Utilization of Information: These surveys are conducted practically so that the information collected from them can be utilized towards the planning for solving the problems highlighted in the survey.
  • Searching for a Relationship: Every event that occurred has a reason behind it, thus social surveys are created to understand the reason behind an incident.


What are the Characteristics of Social Survey?

We all have now understood that social surveys are conducted through different ways to study the social issues and problems and finding various solutions to those issues. With the below-mentioned characteristics of a social survey, your remaining doubts can also be cleared.

  • Study of social events and issues: Social surveys collect data that helps in the study of events and issues that occurred in society or the area where the survey has been undertaken. This study eventually helps in determining the solutions to these issues.
  • A Good Technique for Social Research: This is considered to be the best way to conduct social research. With various methods, you can fulfill your requirements and get favorable results.
  • Relating to a geographical area: Social surveys are conducted in a particular area to find the issues there and suggest solutions to those.
  • Use of Scientific Methods: Various scientific methods are used to conduct social surveys in an area to get the best results. These are conducted very systematically as well.
  • Cooperative Process: Social surveys do not breach anyone’s privacy or disturb anyone. The whole survey process is very cooperative and yields the best results.
  • Study of the Issues and Suggesting Solutions: Social Surveys lead to the study of various issues faced by a community or a society or in a particular area. With the help of these surveys, the governing body can suggest or apply different solutions to those problems and according to the people.


How to plan a Social Survey?

Planning a social survey in an area is not an easy task and involves a complete process. If the proper process is followed, the survey can then be conducted successfully with favorable results.

  • Selecting the Problem: The first and important thing to do is to select the research problem. The researcher should select the issue that is of utmost interest, new, useful, and manageable.
  • Initial Preparations: The research should provide information regarding all the details available on the topic or issue.
  • Sample Selection: Social situations are very huge and vast in number. It is impossible to reach out to each and every person. Thus, a few people are selected to interview or ask to participate in the survey, who are concerned about the issue you selected to research.
  • Selecting the Study Method: Advance planning should be done to determine the steps further. Additionally, the researcher should have good knowledge about the samples and data collection to make the study more practical.
  • Nature of Information: The nature of the information to be collected determines the type of method to be chosen for the survey. For instance, if the information to be collected is qualitative, the case study should be selected and if it is quantitative, questionnaires should be selected.
  • Organizing the Survey: The data should be collected, classified, codified, and understandably presented to the higher authorities.
  • Reporting: Once the data is analyzed, it is reasoned and derived. These are then put in a report to pass on further.
  • Testing the Survey Theory: Once all the theoretical preparation is done, a trial never harms anyone. Moreover, it is very useful in knowing more about the matter and also to get an idea of the problems you might face while taking the real survey.
  • Estimating the Costs: To take the survey smoothly later, a cost estimate is necessary before.
  • Estimating the Time: Time determines the survey’s quality. Thus, it is very important to know the time to be taken in the survey and keep tracking it for better quality.


What are different ways of administering social surveys?

The researchers can administer their surveys in various ways. The most difficult choice is to find out whether the respondent or the interviewee completed the survey themselves or the researcher just filled the questionnaire in a way to make it seem a structured interview. This is the reason administering social surveys is required. Some common ways to administer the survey are:

  • Sending the questionnaire by post or email. Being in an internet era, email is the more feasible option now.
  • Putting the questionnaire online using online survey tools and interested respondents will complete it on their own.
  • Doing a structured interview in person. However, this method can be very time-consuming and sometimes biased as well.
  • A telephonic interview. This method is engaging but could be very time-consuming.

By using a robust, omnichannel survey software like Voxco, you can effortlessly conduct social research and reach out to your target audience anywhere, anytime. Be it online surveys (on your website, or through email), telephonic surveys (CATI/IVR), or face-to-face interviews, Voxco has got you covered! 

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