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Survey Vs. Questionnaire: Learn The Differences

Market research 04 12
See what question types are possible with a sample survey!
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The two terms Survey and Questionnaire have often confused people. The terms have also been used interchangeably. Both are important tools when you need to collect customer feedback or conduct market research.

However, a survey vs. questionnaire differs in many aspects, such as types, applications, and uses. For this purpose, it is better to know the difference between the terms and not confuse them. 

The questionnaire is a collected set of questions. It is a subset of surveys. On the other hand, a survey includes a set of questions along with the process of collecting feedback and analyzing the information. 

In simple terms, a survey involves a questionnaire, however, a questionnaire is only a part of a survey. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the difference between survey and questionnaire in detail across many aspects. Let’s start.


Difference between Survey and Questionnaire

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Let’s start. Survey Vs. Questionnaire: Definition

Survey Vs Questionnaire1

What is a survey?

Every time you collect customer feedback after a purchase or a customer service experience, you conduct a Survey. Marketers use surveys to gather in-depth data from a target audience. 

It is the process of obtaining customer feedback and analyzing the statistical information to examine the overall view of your customers. Surveys are mostly conducted to collect opinions or information about matters such as demographics, interests, customer behavior, etc.

The data helps identify trends and patterns in customer behavior, helping the brands to see how they can improve the experience and retain customers. The focus of conducting a survey is to find more data about a specific group of people. For example, a restaurant conducts a survey to understand how customers behave during valentines week.

Surveys are often a blend of closed and open-ended questions meant to gather representative data. In this data collection method, respondents are chosen via a standardized procedure to eliminate the risk of bias. 

What is a questionnaire?

A questionnaire defines the pattern in which a set of questions have been organized. You cannot conduct a Questionnaire; you can make use of a questionnaire to collect quantitative data. 

The primary difference between survey and questionnaire is that a questionnaire is part of a broader survey. The result from a single questionnaire will give you information about one respondent. 

For the data to be valuable, the researcher news to assess, interpret, and group it with the data gathered from other respondents. Therefore, the data is valuable only when it is interpreted as a part of the whole survey. 

In a questionnaire, one primarily uses close-ended questions, yes/no, and multiple-choice questions.

Differences between the questionnaire and survey

Now that we have learned the difference in the definition of questionnaire vs. survey let’s see the list of differences to understand survey vs. questionnaire better.



It is a research instrument used to obtain data from respondents. 

It helps collect and analyze data from a predefined list of participants to draw insights.

Questionnaires are useful for data collection.

Surveys are useful for data collection and analysis. 

It is a faster process of data collection.

Surveys generally take a longer time to complete. 

Questionnaires primarily include closed-ended questions.

These include a mix of closed and open-ended questions.

Due to being closed-ended, the data is often objective in nature. 

Surveys gather a blend of subjective and objective data. 

Survey Vs. Questionnaire: When to use?

Here let’s look at when to use a questionnaire vs. survey. 

When should you use a survey?

You can conduct a survey when you want to gather feedback from your target market. You have to determine a survey goal. 

Surveys help you identify how many customers prefer your company. 

In surveys, you focus on the type of customers you want to target to understand their experience with your product and service. 

They are ideal for collecting feedback after a customer experience. For example, you can send a survey right after your customer receives their ordered product or their interaction with your customer service. Asking for their opinion right away helps you gather honest and constructive feedback. 

Surveys can help you understand the market potential, identify your target customers, and also the reason for customer churn. 

In short, you should use surveys to: 

  1. Gather customer feedback after a transaction or interaction. 
  2. Conduct product testing surveys. 
  3. Evaluate employee satisfaction. 
  4. Evaluate brand perception and awareness. 

When should you use a questionnaire?

Questionnaires are useful when you need to collect information regarding the payment process, job interviews, donations, creating an email list, etc. 

With questionnaires, you can collect detailed information on a specific topic. You can set questions for a purpose like a job interview or medical information. 

The responses you receive from a questionnaire can be used as a part of the survey.  Questionnaires are a better option when you want to gather information for purposes like 

  1. Creating contact list. 
  2. Conducting job interviews. 
  3. Gathering details for transaction processing.

Questionnaire Vs. Survey: Types

A simple way to learn the difference between survey and questionnaire is by looking at the types of surveys vs. questionnaire. So, let’s learn what are the different types of questionnaire vs. survey. 

Types of surveys:

There are a wide variety of survey types that brands can use to gather customer feedback. Here we are discussing the most important types of surveys. 

01. NPS or Net Promoter Score Surveys: 

This survey type measures a customer’s likelihood of advocating or recommending a brand or products/services on behalf of the company. An NPS survey generally asks one rating question and one open-ended question in response to the rating. 

Likert Scale Question: Rate on a scale of 0 to 10 the likelihood of you to recommend (Brand or product name) to a friend or family.

Open-ended question: What was the main reason for giving that rating?

02. CSAT or Customer Satisfaction surveys:

This is another example of a survey type that is primarily used to evaluate how satisfied your customers are with the brand and its offerings. A high satisfaction rating indicates higher trust and loyalty. 

The survey can include a CSAT question in a rating or multiple-choice question format. For example, 

Rating question: On a scale of 1 to 7, how satisfied are you with our (product name)?

MCQ: How would you describe your satisfaction with our (Product name)?

  • Extremely satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Dissatisfied
  • Extremely dissatisfied

03. CES or Customer Effort Score surveys:

Another common CX survey example is CES surveys. This survey helps you identify the amount of effort a customer experiences to resolve an issue or interact with the brand. A high CES rating indicates lower customer satisfaction. 

CES question: Rate on a scale of 1 to 5, how difficult was it to contact the customer service team? (1 being easy & 5 being difficult)

Now let’s look at the various types of questionnaires to understand the differences between survey vs. questionnaire. 

Types of questionnaires:

A questionnaire consist a list of questions that is typically part of a wider survey. Here’s a list of different questionnaire types for various survey goals. 

Quantitative questionnaire:

A quantitative questionnaire includes closed-ended questions. With these questions, you ask respondents to select yes/no or a numbered response. 

Qualitative questionnaire:

A qualitative questionnaire includes an open-ended question that urges respondents to share feedback in their own words. An open-ended response needs further analysis to extract meaningful insights. 

Demographic questionnaire:

Age, gender, religion, income, education, ethnicity, etc., are demographic information that you can gather using a demographic survey. Brands often gather demographic data to better define and identify their target audience. 

Pictorial questionnaire: 

In this questionnaire type, you substitute the text for an image. A pictorial questionnaire asks respondents to share their feedback by selecting an image. For example, a brand can use it to understand if the audience is aware of the brand or not. They can ask the audience to select the logo used by the brand. 

Scaled questionnaire: 

It includes a type of closed-ended question where the respondent is given a predefined list of answer options to express their opinion about a given topic. A scaled question is the most common question type as it allows respondents to share their opinion quickly. 

Psychographic questionnaire:

This questionnaire type gathers data on respondents’ preferences, values, attitudes, and personalities. The data helps brands create unique customer profiles, which help them create targeted marketing messages.

Survey and Questionnaire: Best practices

In this list of differences between survey and questionnaire, let’s not forget the basics. Here we have shared some writing tips on designing your next survey or questionnaire. 

Ask relevant questions: 

While setting your questions, you should be clear about what you want to achieve from this research. Set your goal and ask questions that align with the goal. Don’t ask questions that have nothing to do with the research. 

Also, don’t overload questions. Use a few questions which are clear and easy to understand. This will increase the chance of your respondents finishing the research. 

Don’t lead your respondent:

When you are asking questions to your audience, you cannot lead them. 

Leading questions can be off-putting, and the respondent may leave the questionnaire halfway. Don’t make assumptions about your customer’s experience. You will end up creating biased answers or lower your chances of receiving responses.

Instead of: What do you think about our excellent delivery service?

Ask: What do you think about our delivery service?

Ask an open, direct, and positive question. Such questions will more likely help you gather honest opinions and positive responses from your audience. 

Make sure your questions stay neutral; you don’t want to lead your audience into biased opinions.

Don’t combine two questions in a single one:

  • On a scale of 0 to 7, how satisfied are you with our product and customer service agent?

Creating a question with two separate questions can confuse the respondent. They won’t know how to respond to the question. In case the respondent has a different opinion about both parts, they won’t be able to express it. By asking such questions, you are forcing your respondent to give one answer.

  • On a scale of 0 to 7, how satisfied are you with our products?
  • On a scale of 0 to 7, how satisfied are you with our customer service agents?

Instead, ask two separate questions. This makes it easier to answer. 

Don’t overload with Open-ended Questions:

Open-ended questions make people unwilling to respond. If they see too many open-ended questions, they are likely to drop the survey. This will lower your response rate. Also, you won’t achieve your purpose of research. 

Open-ended questions are time-consuming. But it is not only that. Respondents mostly use their mobile devices to respond to the surveys.  It is easy just to tap their answers with close-ended questions and finish the survey in a few minutes. However, typing out an answer on a mobile device can make it challenging. 

It is better to use close-ended questions with best-suited options instead of open-ended questions. You can further optimize it with the option of multiple-choice or ‘other’ answer option. 

Don’t use Hypothetical Questions:

Your questions should be open and direct. Hypothetical questions may aggravate your respondent and they will close the survey before even responding.

 ✔ 500+ global brands in 40+ countries 

 ✔ 100Mn+ annual surveys

How can Voxco Survey Software help you with your Survey?

With Voxco, you can reach anyone, anywhere, and at any time. The Omnichannel market research allows you to experience phone, web, and face-to-face surveys all in one platform.

Multiple Modes in one study:

With Voxco Survey Software, you can script a core questionnaire at once. You can then let them decide how they want to complete the survey.

Multichannel Surveys:

You can script your survey once and have them deployed across all the channels.

100+ question types:

At Voxco’s online survey maker, you have access to 100+ question types including open-ended, closed-ended, image, text-highlighter, etcs. You can design interactive surveys and give respondents a break from boring surveys. 

Drag and Drop UI:

With the drag-and-drop feature you can create an attractive survey. The feature is handy for creating an interactive survey. Moreover, it is mobile device friendly, which makes it more interactive for the respondents.

Surveys vs. questionnaire: Conclusion

A simple difference between survey and questionnaire is that questionnaires are a part of the survey, whereas a survey includes a questionnaire. While not interchangeable, both are like cogs fitting together in the process of data collection. 

Surveys and questionnaires both help gather meaningful and important data from the target audience. It helps draw actionable insights to align business operations with customer experience.


What are the types of Surveys?

Types of Surveys: 

  • Customer Feedback
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • Market Research
  • Brand Awareness
  • Lead Generation

What are the Different Methods of Survey?

Methods of Survey

  • Online Survey
  • Paper Survey
  • Telephone Survey
  • Interviews

What is a good Questionnaire?

A good questionnaire includes a set of easy questions for respondents and an interviewer to finish. It helps achieve the desired objectives and provides accurate data which can be analyzed.

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