Survey Methods: Types and Uses in Social Sector 

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Posted by: Kultar Singh
Category: Survey
Survey Methods

Online surveys had become a crucial research tool during the COVID and post-COVID eras when conventional survey methodologies posed substantial difficulties. In the post-pandemic period, online surveys offer unique options for conducting research. Firstly, many typical approaches for collecting social and behavioral data from individuals during the pandemic are impractical. In addition, it offers a convenient and cost-effective alternative. Further, with the advent of technology, there has been a significant change in how surveys are conducted, but the fundamental method remains the same.   

This blog explores the unique advantages of online surveys, the difficulties in adopting and understanding data from online surveys, and the best practices for maximizing their effectiveness. It provides a concise overview of the most common survey methodologies and instructions for implementing each type of survey. 

In-person survey   

An in-person survey could be done as you walk around and talk to people. You could also choose to do more interviews where you sit down and talk to someone. In-person or at-home interviews were once one of the most common ways to conduct surveys, but this is rapidly changing, and other survey methods are gradually replacing them.    

Despite this, interviews and face-to-face surveys are still commonly used by academics, who favor paper surveys or tech-enabled in-person surveys due to their longevity. In addition, some types of surveys, such as those requiring in-depth discussion or research, still need in-person surveys.   

However, for some respondents, the anonymity of the computer screen may be more comfortable than being interviewed face-to-face. Conversely, competent interviewers may relax candidates and elicit truthful responses. In-person interviews are great for people who can’t read or write. They also work great for people who don’t have access to a phone or can’t use the internet. Another good reason to do a face-to-face survey is if you want to follow up and ask more questions, resulting in more clarity. One of the main problems with the in-person survey is that it takes a long time. It takes a lot of effort and time to talk to everyone personally and gather information from them one-on-one.   

Telephonic Survey  

Telephone surveys are another effective way of surveying because they can be done from the comfort of your office or home and are quicker. A standard phone survey can be done by calling a wide range of people, which can be especially helpful for some groups, like older people. Generally, they work better than ones done in person because they take more time and money.  

Telephonic surveys can be conducted using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) software. One can also conduct telephone surveys using IVR or interactive voice response technology. With the development of mobile technology, telephonic surveys offer unparalleled access to rural and remote regions.  

Postal Survey   

A postal survey is another method of collecting survey responses. It was a popular method once, but now with technology and changing times, it is going out of favour. Nonetheless, it is still used by researchers in some cases. It’s an excellent choice for people of all ages. They must, however, be able to read and write. You can participate in the survey if you find an address and understand and read English. But this will cost quite a bit. You might have to pay to have the survey printed, posted, and shipped. But even though it would not cost much this way, it’s usually cheaper than hiring many people to do a phone survey.  

The response rate in the case of a postal survey could be a huge issue, and one must follow up frequently to improve the response rate, which would also take a lot of time.   

E-Mail Survey  

You can also send out a survey by e-mail. One of the best things about sending out surveys by e-mail is that they are easy to make and send out. You can set up the survey with a primary word processor or use the available online survey tool. The next step is sending out your survey, which can be easily done using an online survey tool. But one of the biggest problems with online surveys is that they are easy to ignore. Robust tracking measures are crucial to improving survey response rates. 

Focus groups  

Focus groups are surveys performed in person or by technology with a specific group. They involve small-group discussions of particular topics. Typically, a single moderator oversees a small but varied group. A focus group may be used to test existing ideas or facilitate a conversation on a controversial topic.  

Panel Survey  

People who have volunteered to be part of a panel to answer the survey are more likely to respond to a panel survey. Creating a representative panel requires a great deal of effort, but once a panel has been assembled, it provides advantages for obtaining accurate and timely survey responses. In addition, you can filter answers based on various criteria to ensure that your message reaches the intended recipients.  

Kiosk Surveys   

These surveys are conducted in a physical location using a computer/tablet screen. One has likely observed them at malls, stores, hotel lobbies, hospitals, and other workplaces. They can be located practically wherever a social researcher wishes to collect information from clients or passersby and can be used for exit interviews. People are prompted to respond to kiosk surveys immediately following a transaction or meeting while they can still recall the event.  

Online Surveys  

In today’s time, if you are looking for a quick and cost-effective solution for conducting surveys, an online survey is the best way to do it. Further, it is also much easier to share than other options. One must create a survey using an excellent online survey tool and share the survey using web-ink to an e-mail. But depending on how you talk to people who might fill out your survey, you can get a lot of information within minutes of sending out your survey.   

Another benefit of online surveys is that you can change how they work to fit your needs since they are computer programs. You can make each survey different for each participant based on their information, like their name, address, and ethnicity. Further, there is always the chance of getting information ahead of time and other things, or you could change it based on their answers. So, there is a lot of room for making survey experiences that are remarkably interesting and fun.  

Online surveys are one of the most effective ways to collect data. They can be used for nearly any purpose and are easily adaptable to a specific audience. There are a variety of survey formats available online. Several available online survey platforms exist if you want to opt for an online survey tool. One can use Google Forms, one of the easiest and free options on the market right now. It can be used to do any survey.  

Researchers can also use SurveyPoint, a popular and comprehensive online survey tool, to create a survey. Once shared, it automatically collects the information from the people who fill out the form, figures out the statistics, and then makes graphs of the data. So, one can create pie charts, bar graphs, scatter plots, and other types of graphs. A dashboard option is also available for saving graphs. Furthermore, survey data can be viewed raw, exported, or analyzed. 

In the end, in the social sector, wherein there is growing debate about the use of lean data and providing insights in real-time to aid in quick decision making, online surveys and research could be pragmatic, relevant, and cost-effective survey approach.   

Kultar Singh – Chief Executive Officer, Sambodhi

Author: Kultar Singh

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