Competency Group: Business

Type: Measure

Description: Surveys can be used as a part of quantative or qualitative research to collect factual or behavioral information, or to gather opinions. There are several ways of administering a survey. The choice between administration modes is influenced by several factors, including 1) costs, 2) coverage of the target population, 3) flexibility of asking questions, 4) respondents' willingness to participate and 5) response accuracy. The most common modes of administration can be summarized as: Telephone, Mail (post), Online surveys, Personal in-home surveys, Personal mall or street intercept survey, or hybrids of the above.

Citation for Description: Survey methodology. (2011). From Wikipedia,

Units: Consumer information

Advantages: Surveys are relatively inexpensive. Surveys are useful in describing the characteristics of a large population. No other method of observation can provide this general capability. They can be administered from remote locations. Many questions can be asked about a given topic giving considerable flexibility to the analysis.

Limitations: A methodology relying on standardization forces the researcher to develop questions general enough to be minimally appropriate for all respondents, possibly missing what is most appropriate to many respondents. Surveys are inflexible in that they require the initial study design (the tool and administration of the tool) to remain unchanged throughout the data collection.

Target Audience: Top management, Marketing, R&D

Relevant to Universal Design: Yes

Stages and Steps: 2.2, 4.11, 9.1

Free Resource: Leland, E. (2011). A few good online survey tools. Retrieved from Idealware website:

Purchase Resource: Groves, R.M., Fowler, F.J., Couper, M.P., Lepkowski, J.M., Singer, E. & Tourangeau, R. (2004). Survey methodology. Hoboken, Wiley — Interscience.