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Survey vs Questionnaire: a simple guide

Survey vs questionnaire

Whether you're in university and you need to conduct a survey for market research or you need the data for your work, you need to question many participants accurately and in a short amount of time.

To do that, a survey or a questionnaire are the best options for you. This is because you are able to collect as many answers as possible in a certain time period, whether long-term or short-term.

However, a lot of people confuse these two as they think they are one and the same. To be honest, it is reasonable but let's explain how and why they are different.

What is a questionnaire?

A questionnaire is part of a survey or a wider research project..

It is a set of questions asked to find answers to various problems and research questions, from product testing, university research for an essay, school project, business enquiry, to employee satisfaction and customer loyalty.

But because it’s only a set of questions, the data will be limited in terms of insights. The data will not be insightful enough if your research is for a complex topic. If it is for a simple research topic, such as a school project then a questionnaire would suffice.

A questionnaire should be accompanied by other research methodologies, such as interviews, focus groups, observations and wider surveys, for a deeper analysis and investigation.

How to write a good questionnaire

Your questions need to be exact and descriptive in order for the participants to answer to the best of their abilities. Set your research objectives from the start so that the questions you ask lead to conclusions and answers you want to get. The choices you also give for each question should be specific.

Because questionnaires are usually informal their length should be considered. Participants usually answer these quickly and on the spot; if the questionnaire is too long, you might not get accurate and truthful answers.

What is a survey?

A survey could be considered synonymous to research; it is considered as quantitative research as the data is measurable and calculable. It is a combination of different methods and processes that will gather data to answer your main question. A questionnaire could be part of a survey.

To plan and build a survey needs a significant amount of time and effort, in order to make it as accurate as possible for accurate data collection. Also, because it involves other methodologies in this research, it is as if you're planning for many parts of it at the same time, that align with your research objectives and goals.

Surveys are considerably more formal than questionnaires. They dive deeper into issues, as well as analyse data from various sources of information and research. It is a bigger knowledge pot that you have access to.

How to conduct a successful survey

Before you dive into how to do this, ask yourself:
  •  What is the purpose of the survey? What do I want to find out?
  •  What kinds of questions would the survey include?
  •  What would the next actions be after the results of the survey?

After defining the purpose of your survey having set clear goals, plan each part of your survey. Will you include interviews for deeper insights to consumerism? Do you maybe need a clearer answer as to why a tester likes your product? Plan each part of your survey aligning it with our goals.

Before you collect the feedback and the responses for thorough analysis, you should define to whom your survey will go to. Look at audience demographics and interests. Who would be suitable to participate in this survey? To whom is this survey appropriate for?

What is their difference and why is it important to understand it?

A questionnaire describes the questions and content of a research while the survey is a wider term used to describe research, using various methodologies and processes.

It is important to have the two research methods separated and distinguished in one's mind as they are two different things and using them interchangeably will only cause confusion. Surely they're both methods of acquiring data, but a survey does not rely only on one approach but multiple.

How we can help you

Paid Product Testing helps in market research studies where we provide participants with a platform in which they can take part in surveys and try new products for research purposes. With your participation, you earn rewards and points for your own enjoyment.