An Exhaustive Guide to Different Types of Survey Research Techniques


Survey research customer journey
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In a modern world, where companies run totally on what and how their customers think, they need to know their customers best. The survey opens that opportunity for them as it is a great method of gathering unbiased opinions and finding out how people think about the brand and its products/services. 

The benefit of using survey research as your data collection method is that it will provide first-hand data in real time. 

In this article, we’ll explore the types, benefits, and uses of survey research.

What is survey research?

As clearly as the name suggests, it refers to a systematic study or research done through surveys. This means surveys are conducted with the respondents, and the results are drawn through statistical calculations. 

Let’s take an example of survey research to understand better. Say you run a gym and want to know what the members think about the workout equipment in your gym. You can share a survey form in the group with all the members and let them express their experience at your gym and how they would like it to be better.

This way, you will have more reliable data on which you can work to improve your gym. You can leverage a market research tool to conduct survey research and gather data via multiple channels.

Get started with Voxco’s Market Research Toolkit.

Market Research Trends Guide + Online Surveys Guide + Agile Market Research Guide + 5 Market Research Templates

What are the different types of survey research techniques?

There exist seven major types of survey research techniques

Survey research is the easiest and fastest way to get to know your customer base. But, when you get in professionally, there are various types and ways you can approach this method to give you the best outcomes for your business. 

To make this easier for you, in this section, we will discuss the various types of market research survey techniques depending on various factors.

Market research survey technique based on objective

1. Exploratory survey research 

This method concerns finding or exploring the research topic. This means that the researcher is completely focusing on what more information they can get about a topic of interest. 

This mainly involves open-ended questions where respondents can freely express their thoughts, leaving abundant data with the researcher.

Example: the researcher wants to know what most parents think about the increasing use of violent games by their children. 

2. Causal survey research 

It aims to determine the cause-effect relationship between two or more variables. This study uses existing information and patterns that the researcher studies to tell what can happen. 

Example: a researcher studying the effect of drug use on teenagers. 

3. Descriptive survey research 

In market research, descriptive research helps explore and describe the demographic customer segment. It focuses on uncovering the “what” of the research topic. 

Example: An apparel brand can use descriptive research to understand the fashion trends in teenagers in California. In this case, they will use the demographic survey to understand “what” is the purchase trend/pattern.  

Survey research based on data source

4. Secondary research – 

When researchers use the data from research conducted by someone else in the past, it is called secondary research. Researchers will use this method when they know that their research topic has already been explored by many researchers before, and referring to them will save time and costs.  

Example: a researcher wants to know about domestic violence. He will first refer to a secondary source, such as research reports that have been primary data for some other researcher. 

5. Primary research – 

Unlike secondary data, primary data is first-hand data and is collected by the researcher. The researchers conduct surveys and gather data directly from the target audience. Hence, primary data completely depends on your research topic and is helpful to you.

Example: An apparel brand wants to know customer satisfaction with their new trouser line.

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Survey research based on the methodology

6. Quantitative research – 

This is a research method widely used to gather numerical data. This includes questions with optional answer ranges and statistical approaches to calculate the results. Quantitative research has close-ended questions with no chance of wide expressions from the respondents. 

Example: You want to know about your seminar performance. You will ask close-ended questions like “How much did you like our seminar?” and the range of answers will look something like this; 

  1. Very good
  2. Good
  3. Average
  4. Bad
  5. Very bad

Respondents are supposed to give answers in this range only. 

7. Qualitative research – 

This methodology of research has open-ended questions. The researcher asks the questions to respondents so they can freely express their thoughts and opinions. Qualitative research includes descriptive answers from respondents, which takes even longer to compile the information and analyze the results. 

For example, you can ask questions like “How can we improve our seminars?” allowing people to describe their opinions about your seminar briefly.

Now that we have summed up the seven types of market research survey techniques, let’s discuss their importance. 

Why should you conduct survey research?

Survey research customer journey

Surveys allow you to gather diverse data from the target audience at the right time. In market research, it helps brands explore customer satisfaction, brand perception, product opportunity, etc. 

There are several benefits of using market research survey techniques to gather valuable insights. We have listed four main reasons for conducting the survey;

1. Surveys offer hard data

For a customer-centric brand, it is important to know whether a customer’s complaint is a one-time or regular occurrence. Customers will likely leave your brand if they have a bad experience. 

Surveys offer you a channel to engage with customers and understand their pain points. It highlights where you are failing to impress them and what you can do better. It gives you hard evidence to help you identify problem areas and resolve them at the right time. 

2. Surveys help you benchmark your performance

When surveys are conducted repeatedly throughout time, they become even more effective as a tool for making strategic decisions, such as whether to continue a certain campaign or replace it with a new one. 

Surveys help you identify trends and benchmark the performance with the previous data.  After all, asking the same question repeatedly throughout time provides a clear view of how things are changing for better or worse. 

3. Market research surveys shed light on the “Why.”

In market research, surveys help you understand “why” your sales are dropping, “why” customers are abandoning the cart, or “why” an ad campaign is falling to convert. 

Surveys enable you to uncover the motivation behind customer’s decisions. It helps you uncover the barriers and the intentions that are influencing the customers’ purchase decisions. 

Surveys give you access to explicit and unbiased data. It reveals all the information you need to discard assumptions you may have about customer behavior. 

4. Survey research gives customers a voice

Any organization can prosper by putting the customer’s voice at the center of its decision-making. Engaging your consumers to express their complaints improves engagement and reduces the risk that they would choose to go somewhere else and spend their time or money.

Learn how Voxco helped Frost & Sullivan conduct 1k surveys using Voxco Online.

What are the advantages of conducting survey research?

As much as there are reasons for you to consider research survey for your business, here are some of the important points that we think make a survey the best suit for businesses:

1. It provides you with the best first-hand, reliable, and authentic data concerning your business and a systematic way to handle it. 

2. It also allows you to give access and collect data from those responders who you think are capable and you can count on. 

3. Market research survey techniques provide a vast type of survey questions that have various ways of collecting data. This makes it easy for you to present the questions with minimum complexity effectively. 

4. It gives you valuable insights into customers’ mindsets and behavior and their significance in your business strategy. 

5. Survey research and its interactive nature help you connect to the customers and build a healthy relationship with them where they can freely express their thoughts and opinions. 

6. Market research surveys are widely used to gain important information to improve existing products and build better ones in the coming time. 

7. It is scalable depending on the channels or platforms that they are deployed on. Both online surveys and offline surveys can be used according to the company’s convenience. 

8. You can conduct it frequently to keep track of customers’ changing natures and preferences and stay on top of the latest market trends.

How do market research survey techniques help a business?

Here are some of the ways in which market research survey techniques can help a business;

1. Branding surveys

Brand research helps you understand the consumers’ perception of your brand. You can identify the value and ideas they associate with your brand name and identity. As a result, you can create a strategy to maintain the intended brand identity. 

There are six types of brand research: 

  • Brand awareness
  • Brand Advocacy
  • Brand loyalty
  • Brand value
  • Brand positioning
  • Brand perception 

2. Product surveys

Using customer knowledge to guide the entire process of developing or upgrading a product, service, or app and launching it is what entails a market research survey for product development.

Product surveys help you analyze and evaluate the product concept and find out what features would appeal most to the target consumers. 

There are six types of product surveys you can conduct.

  • Product concept 
  • New product demand 
  • Product usage 
  • Product features, attribute, and benefits surveys
  • Price evaluation 
  • Sales forecasting

3. Research on customer segmentation

Customer segmentation helps you create targeted marketing campaigns. Surveys help you understand the desires, needs, motivations, behaviors, and several other attributes that set each customer apart. 

Using the data, you can segment customers who share similar attributes and understand how you can appeal to them. With this understanding, you can focus on delivering personalized marketing offers and building lasting relationships. 

4. Customer satisfaction research

CSAT surveys help you learn how satisfied customers are with the product and services. It highlights whether your products meet the customer’s expectations or fall short. Customer retention and overall business performance are both strongly correlated with customer satisfaction. You can discover what your customers appreciate, dislike, and think needs to be improved via successful customer satisfaction research.

5. Competitive analysis

Analyzing your competitors’ strengths and shortcomings in the marketplace gives you the information you need to gain a competitive edge. Competitive analysis is an essential component of every business and market plan, especially when there are many companies fighting in the same market. A competitive analysis survey will be essential whether you’re starting, expanding into a new market, or performing a health check on your company.

See what kind of surveys you can create using Voxco Online.

Download the survey template from a collection of 100+ sample surveys.

Different measurement scales used in survey research

In this section, we will discuss deeply how the answer ranges are scaled depending on various methods. 

1. Nominal scale 

In survey research, this scale uses numbers to label the qualitative variables. This means the numbers don’t have any value for themselves as they just serve as labels that respondents use to mention in the answer section. They have a one-to-one relationship with the corresponding variables and are used for identification.

Example: How do you represent your gender?




Additional read: Nominal scale Vs. ordinal scale

2. Ordinal scale 

In this scale, the variables range in various ranking orders but don’t specify to what degree each of them is important. The ordinal data is qualitative since it can be grouped or ranked. With this method, the researcher determines whether the responder agrees or disagrees with the question statement. 

Example: We have had satisfying customer service so far.

  1. Agree
  2. Somewhat agree
  3. Neutral
  4. Disagree
  5. Somewhat disagree

3. Interval scale 

This scale measures variables existing at equal intervals parallel to a common scale. It combines the attributes of nominal and ordinal scales and is used where there is order and a meaningful difference between two variables. You can carry out other mathematical processes like calculating the mean and median of the variables.

Example: You enjoyed using our product.

  1. Completely agree
  2. Somewhat agree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Somewhat disagree
  5. Completely disagree

Additional read: Interval scale Vs. Ratio scale

4. Ratio scale 

This is a numeric scale as well and uses intervals or ranges as answer options. In survey research, the ratio scale has equal intervals between the variables in the scale. 

Example: How much experience do you have with our product?

  1. More than a year
  2. 12-10 months
  3. 10-8 months
  4. 8-6 months
  5. 6-4 months
  6. 4-2 months
  7. Below two months

What will be the cost of conducting surveys?

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Tips to design effective survey research

It is important to design a market research survey perfectly for it to be useful to your business. You need to use the correct survey design, frame the right questions, and choose effective platforms to distribute your surveys. 

Here are ten tips that will help you to design your survey research efficiently:

1. Set goals 

This is even before you start your survey design. Decide what goals you want to achieve with your survey and plot down the objectives of conducting the particular survey so that it acts as a guideline for your research.

2. Right Questions

It is important to frame correct questions that will directly hit the exact answers you were looking for. Run mock surveys with your friends and colleagues to know if there are any improvements in the questions.

3. Generalized questions at the start 

Start with such questions to get an idea of whether respondents have used your product or not. Begin with a general question to understand if they have enough knowledge concerning your research topic.

4. Enhance

Modify your survey for every question to ensure it aligns with the research topic. The questions should bring you the answers to the problem you are trying to resolve.

Building a survey is easier with a sample

5. Yes/no questions

Include yes or no questions asking basic questions like “Have you used our product?” Then, depending on their answer, you can ask them different questions. 

6. Test for all electronic devices

Your survey should be responsive on any electronic device. This way, it will be easier for the respondents to answer your survey according to their convenience.

7. Distribute survey

Once your survey is ready, use various channels available and deploy the survey on them. You can use online/offline platforms to do this. 

8. Response collection and analytics

This is the important phase since it will be the turning point of your research. This includes converting data into insights and making sense of it. Choose your analyzing methodology efficiently to match your research purpose and develop the suitable solution you were looking for. 

9. Summary report

Gather your problem statement and how you carried out the survey, the sampling style, and how you conducted the survey. And lastly, take your findings and make a report of them highlighting the importance of survey research details.

10. Follow-up

Your work doesn’t end with the research. Use the findings to follow up with the respondents. Take this opportunity to engage in deeper discussion and communicate the action you plan to take to the respondents.


In this post, we’ve covered a lot of ground related to survey research design, touching on various crucial facets of the idea. Understanding how it operates can help you use it efficiently and get the most out of this type of systematic investigation as a researcher, group, person, or student.

As we’ve already mentioned, conducting types of survey research online is one of the best ways to collect data because it enables you to get reliable information from a sizable sample of respondents. 

So with the help of Voxco, start creating your market research surveys now!

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FAQs on Survey Research

Survey research is a process of systematically gathering information from target audience. This type of research process includes gathering feedback via multiple channels such as online, offline, or phone.

Based on the research objective there are three types of survey research. These types are exploratory, causal, and descriptive research. 

Surveys enable researchers to reach a large audience and describe the characteristics of the target market. It hase the advantage of gathering accurate data at any time to help you draw meaningful conclusion and make important decision. 

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