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Exploring the Diverse Types of Surveys: Insights and Applications

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There are two ways you can conduct research to gather the desired data, one, gathering opinions from the target audience, and two, conducting research using previously gathered data. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of surveys that enable you to reach out to your target audience and gather data from them directly. 

There are various types of surveys for research. But, researchers across industries use some common survey research methods, and we will dive into these handfuls of methods. 

What is survey research?

Survey research is the most common and widely used tool for quantitative and qualitative research by different industries. There are different types of surveys that help gather insightful data from the target audience for your research purpose.

When administered correctly, surveys provide meaningful insights in the form of quantitative or qualitative data. Organizations then analyze this data to make accurate decisions. 

A formal list of questionnaires is prepared & deployed to the respondents for them to share their feedback/opinions. Researchers use a non-disguised approach so that the participants of the survey know exactly what they are answering.   

Let’s now look at the types of survey methods you can use to collect responses. 

Related read: What is a survey?

What are the types of surveys?

The types of survey methods can be classified into different categories, which we will explain in detail later. For now, let’s divide the different kinds of surveys based on three major categories.  

  1. Survey types based on channels used: This includes seven survey types. 
  2. Survey types based on the frequency of deployment: This includes three sub-types. 
  3. Survey types based on the research goal: This includes seven sub-types of surveys. 

We will walk you through each of these categories in the next section. 

Read how Voxco helped Frost & Sullivan conduct 10K surveys across 300 industries.

7 Different types of surveys based on channels used

In this section of examples of survey research, we are going to discuss seven different survey kinds based on the channels you can use. Each of these survey research examples consists of different channels of survey distribution and data collection. 

01. Online surveys 

Online surveys include a set of structured questions that respondents complete through the Internet. This is generally done by filling in a form. Online survey tools are becoming increasingly popular because it is an apt way to reach out to the participants, it is less time-consuming, and are also cost-effective as compared to traditional paper surveys. 

You can administer online surveys via email, sms, social media, or your company website. The internet makes it easy to reach a diverse audience and gather representative data. 

Pros of this type of survey: 

  • Online surveys are easy to share and accessible. 
  • Survey respondents can take surveys anywhere on their mobile devices. 
  • You can trigger it to gather responses in real-time. 

Online survey tools allow you to design surveys with multiple types of survey questions to create interactive surveys. It also enables you to store gathered data in the database and use it for later evaluations by experts. 

Additionally, it enables you to use logic functionality to ensure that the questions are relevant to the respondent’s experience. Survey software also enables researchers to reward survey respondents for their participation in online surveys. 

02. Paper surveys 

In such survey methods, researchers use traditional paper and pencil methods to collect data. 

Many researchers believe paper surveys to be outdated methods of conducting surveys. However, they come in handy when used for field research. These surveys can be conducted in areas where computers, laptops, and smartphones aren’t available.  

However, these surveys are expensive and time-consuming. They also use up human resources and can be exhausting to conduct. 

Pros of this survey research example: 

  • It allows you to gather data from people who are not well-versed in technology. 
  • People who cannot access online surveys can share their feedback using paper surveys. 

03. Telephonic surveys 

As the name suggests, telephonic surveys such as Voxco’s CATI survey software are conducted over the telephone. Respondents are asked to answer questions that are relevant to the research topic. 

The researcher asks the questions over the phone or uses IVR to play recorded questions. Phone surveys, when conducted using robust technology like automated dialers, can speed up the research process and also enable you to scale the software based on the requirement. 

However, a lot of the success of a telephone survey depends on the number of people answering the phone and investing the time in answering each and every question. 

Pros of this example of survey research: 

  • Phone surveys help you add a human touch and build relationships with the target audience. 
  • CATI enables faster data collection and analysis with its cutting-edge telephone technologies. 
  • Interviewers can effortlessly record answers without errors in a telephone survey. 

Read how Vox Opinion used Voxco IVR in its customer satisfaction program.

04. One-to-One interviews or In-person surveys 

The one-to-one interview method includes the researcher gathering information directly from the respondent. This is a qualitative research method. The questions framed and asked by the researcher depend upon their knowledge and experience. Relevant questions lead to deeper insights from the interview. Interviews last anywhere from around 30 minutes to a few hours. 

Pros of this type of survey: 

  • This example of survey research is best suited when collecting data from respondents who have low literacy. 
  • It allows you to dive deeper into respondents’ opinions and keep them engaged. 

With technological advancement, you can now conduct in-person interviews using mobile-offline survey software. Such software enables you to administer surveys on your mobile device in the absence of the Internet. 

You no longer have to carry papers around. Simply use the mobile-offline software to collect data, and once the device is connected to the internet, the data is stored and analyzed. 

05. Focus groups  

Focus groups have a small but diverse group of individuals who are given a sample product or a topic to discuss. This survey is monitored by a supervisor or a moderator who does not interfere with the group.  

Focus group surveys are carried out to measure the natural reaction and opinion of individuals over a given topic, where all of them actively present their views and opinions through agreeing, disagreeing, and even arguing while the moderator takes notes of the conversation.  

Pros of this survey research example: 

  • This type of survey method lets you uncover respondents’ perceptions and attitudes. 
  • It is a great way to conduct qualitative survey. 
  • You can observe participants interact and form opinions which helps you also uncover drivers of customer behavior. 

06. Panel sampling  

You can also recruit survey respondents maintained by a research company where that provides you with a population who is signed up to take the survey. This way, you can get assured responses. You also have the liberty to filter responses or participants based on your business needs and gather your data to drive insights from it. 

Another side of the panel survey is the data quality which you will have to watch out for. As these individuals are frequently giving various surveys, some of them might rush in the answers and respond with misdirecting responses. Another bias happens when you are tapping into the same people for different surveys, which don’t give you representative answers.   

Pros of this type of survey: 

  • Panel survey is suitable when you are in a hurry to conduct surveys.
  • It also allows you to conduct long-term surveys, as you can survey the same respondents and track their responses over time. 

07. Mail-in surveys 

Mail-in surveys are those old-schooled ways of sending out surveys to people’s doorsteps. Although this practice was carried out even before the Internet age, is it really THAT old-fashioned? Well, not necessarily. Mail-in surveys are still carried out for respondents who are widespread geographically as they are sent to specific houses and addresses. Hence, they still feel personalized.  

Mail-in surveys are proven to have a lesser drop-out rate because respondents don’t struggle with less attention. The survey catches their eye, and most of them decide to attend it as it feels personalized.  

Pros of this survey type: 

  • Mail surveys are old fashion and may be a favorable choice of survey channel for the older generation. 

Explore all the survey question types
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3 Types of survey methods based on the frequency of deployment

In this section of examples of survey research, we have categorized surveys based on the frequency at which you can administer the surveys. Each of these survey types has its own benefit and is suitable for various research purposes. 

08. Retrospective surveys  

Retrospective surveys ask respondents to answer questions on events from the past. By using this type of survey, researchers can collect data on past events as well as the beliefs of the respondents. 

This survey type helps you collect data about events that have happened in the past, such as a product launched months ago or a national event from the past. This is both cost-effective and not as time-consuming as longitudinal surveys and is a useful market research tool

Pros of this type of survey: 

  • It helps identify changes over time. 
  • It gathers insight into past experiences from the target audience’s perspective. 
  • It helps businesses evaluate their past initiatives. 

09. Cross-sectional surveys 

These surveys are carried out with a small sample of a larger population. These surveys have a small time frame and are carried out to get a quick summary of the respondents’ opinions. Cross-sectional studies are short and ready to answer and can measure responses from a limited group of individuals. 

Pros of this example of survey research: 

  • The cross-sectional survey provides researchers insights into the target audience at a given point in time. 
  • It helps gather data on current issues to help make informed decisions. 
  • The survey data helps you identify the need for further research. 

10. Longitudinal surveys 

Longitudinal surveys allow researchers to conduct studies through observation and collect data over longer periods. There are three types of longitudinal surveys: Panel surveys, trend surveys, and cohort surveys. 

We talked about panel surveys above. Trend surveys it is distributed to the sample to understand the shift of responses with time. Researchers use this survey to know people’s changes in opinion and preferences over time.  

A cohort survey refers to studying people with the same characteristics and meeting a specific criterion. These people don’t necessarily have to create a group. Although, people from common groups need to have the same characteristics. Cohort surveys are focused on one specific goal, and researchers try to find out the information about it.   

Pros of this survey type: 

  • It helps track changes and patterns over time. 
  • You can identify causal relationships between the research variables. 
  • Longitudinal research helps you gather a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s behavior under the influence of experience. 

Create interactive website surveys with Voxco’s drag-and-drop survey maker.

100+ question types, advanced logic, branching, CSS customization, white-label, multi-lingual surveys, and more

7 Types of surveys based on the research goal

What are your research goals? Why do you want to conduct research? And what kind of data do you want to gather?

In this section of examples of survey research, we will explore the survey types based on the kind of goal you have based on your industry. This section will help you identify which kind of survey you want to conduct. 

11. Customer survey: 

Customers are crucial to the success of any business or organization, and so are customer experience surveys. It is essential for businesses to understand their customers and their needs and preferences. Use this type of survey to understand your customers better. Use the gathered data to make changes and grow your business. 

Here are some examples of surveys you can use to gather customer data: 

  • Customer experience surveys: Gauge customers’ experience with your brand, product, and services by gathering their opinion. 
  • Customer satisfaction surveys: Understand the level of satisfaction customers feel when interacting with your brand and offerings. 
  • Customer expectation surveys: Identify the expectations from your brand that you need to meet for them to stay loyal. 
  • Customer effort survey: Find out how much effort a customer has to put into completing a task using your products or getting their issues resolved. 
  • Customer service surveys: Evaluate your customer service efforts by gathering customers’ perceptions of the service they receive. 

12. Market research & Marketing survey: 

Use marketing surveys for market research and determine what consumers think about your brand, products, or services. Such types of surveys are also helpful for a brand to assess price, value, product satisfaction, product accessibility, brand awareness, and more.

Here are some examples of survey methods you can use for market research surveys: 

  • Concept testing: Gather customer feedback on the product/service concept to evaluate the likelihood of its success. 
  • Product satisfaction surveys: Gauge customer satisfaction with the overall product, its attributes, features, packaging, and price. 
  • Competitive analysis surveys: Understand your competitors from your target customer’s perspective. Learn where you stand to uncover what you can do to surpass the competition. 
  • Brand awareness surveys: Gauge how well your target customers know your brand. 

13. Community survey: 

Community surveys can be administered to members of associations or foundations to get feedback regarding the various activities conducted within the association. This type of survey helps understand the member’s experiences and collects feedback regarding what kind of programs add value, feedback on previously held events, etc., and more. 

Here are some examples of surveys you can use to gather public feedback: 

  • Need assessment surveys: Identify the needs, priorities, and pain points of the community to uncover the gap in experience. 
  • Demographic survey: Gather information to learn and know more about your community. 
  • Health assessment surveys: Evaluate the health status of the community to identify the needs and requirements. 

14. Employee experience or HR surveys: 

Businesses and organizations use human resource or employee experience surveys for employee evaluation, employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and more. 

You can use this survey type to evaluate employee satisfaction and engagement in the workplace. It can help you understand how productive your workforce is, what are drivers for productivity, and where you can improve. 

Here are some examples of surveys you can use to gather employee feedback: 

  • Employee satisfaction surveys: Monitor how satisfied employees are working in the office. 
  • DEI surveys: Identify any discrimination or inequality that takes place in the workplace. 
  • Exit interview: Learn the drivers of employee churn to resolve it and retain talents. 

Read how Voxco empowers the HR team to evaluate a 2,000-person monthly hiring process.

15. Industry-based surveys: 

Under this type of survey method, we include industry-based surveys customized for the different industries. Such survey research methods help collect in-depth feedback from consumers of various industries like retail, hotel industry, fast food industry, and transportation, just to name a few. 

With this example of survey research, the researcher can understand what the USPs are and what needs more attention from the target customers’ point of view. 

Here are some examples of surveys you can use as per your industry: 

  • Retail surveys: Gather customer data about your retail store (online & physical) to understand how well you are doing. 
  • Hospitality surveys: Identify patterns in customer behavior to send targeted marketing messages to boost conversion. 

16. Academic survey: 

Academic surveys are one of the simplest ways to understand what students and their parents think of the efforts taken by your educational institution. This type of survey helps to assess the student perception of a course evaluation, curriculum planning, training sessions, etc. 

Here are some examples of surveys you can use to gather student feedback: 

  • After graduation experience: Gather feedback from graduating students to assess the effectiveness of your institutions’ academic programs. 
  • Course evaluation surveys: Guage the effectiveness of the course, the instructor, and the resources available. 
  • Student engagement surveys: Understand if students are satisfied and feel involved in school/college life. 

17. Nonprofit survey: 

Nonprofit surveys help collect targeted information and feedback from various donors, volunteers, stakeholders, and other participants of a nonprofit’s activities. The survey types assess important touchpoints and solicit data from event attendees, donor feedback, and volunteers. 

Here are some examples of surveys you can use: 

  • Volunteer satisfaction surveys: Gather feedback from volunteers to understand how satisfied they are and identify areas of improvement. 
  • Impact assessment surveys: Evaluate the effectiveness and influence made by the nonprofit initiatives in the community. 

See how you can design surveys with smart flow using Voxco

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Why should you use survey research?

Survey research is the most effective way to gather real-time data from a diverse and wider population. They are easy to administer, versatile, and can be deployed across many channels to gather insights. 

They can help you solicit data from your target audience beyond the existing customer base. Several key reasons why surveys are important include the following. 

  1. Researchers can ask relevant questions to a large group of people on a particular topic and draw valuable insights. 
  2. They help you measure peoples’ opinions about a wide range of topics. You can use different types of surveys to gather people’s opinions depending on the data you want. 
  3. In market research, surveys enable you to understand customer behavior, preferences, and trends. The data helps you improve products, create tailored messages, and create targeted upsell & cross-sell strategies. 
  4. Surveys help you gather long-term data to assess and evaluate the impact of initiatives and interventions over time. 
  5. It helps you gather data right from the source so you can make informed decisions based on data rather than assumptions. 

In short, surveys are a valuable tool if you are a decision-maker, as it helps you achieve goals and make data-driven decisions. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, different types of surveys help you achieve different goals. Each of the survey types offers a new way to understand your target population. 

To make the most out of each survey research example mentioned above, consider the following factors: 

  • Consider the amount of time you can invest in conducting the survey research.
  • Consider who your target demographic include. 
  • Ensure you have the proper technology to handle data analysis. 
  • You should have comprehensive and precise knowledge of your research objective and the problems you are trying to solve. 
  • Ensure you have strategies to boost response rates. 

Voxco’s survey software enables you to conduct online surveys, CATI, and mobile-offline surveys with ease. The intuitive software allows you to design targeted surveys. 

Additionally, you can automate data analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data and generate interactive reports without the need for human intervention. 

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