An Ultimate Guide to Using Surveys in Social Research

An Ultimate Guide to Using Surveys in Social Research

Are you writing an academic paper and stuck with surveys in social research? Well, follow this ultimate guide and get complete information regarding surveys. Social research studies the relations, dealings, opinions, and beliefs of people sharing common space and ideas. Social research uses different methodologies to gather data, such as surveys, questionnaires, and interviews. The survey is being leveraged in two ways; where survey means a researcher is collecting data from participants, while in another way, survey describes a particular technique to collect data.

A survey is a research method of collecting information using relevant questions from a sample of people, primarily focusing on the population. A survey is a very exciting approach to identifying the invisible factors and critical determinants of social, economic, and political outcomes, such as beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, reasoning, and knowledge. Surveys are a very important tool for conducting research and generating data. This enables researchers to use surveys in social research to create their own identified and controlled variation. Surveys have become wider and easier because current telecommunication advancements offer valuable opportunities to study broad samples or specific groups.

In today’s life, big data is used to quantify the results and make perceptions. However, some somethings remain invisible in non-survey data and measuring them can be challenging. We can use observational and quasi-observational data on particular behaviours to assess these underlying factors. For this purpose, one must need assumptions and identify variations that might not be present in the data. For example, if you want to measure people’s beliefs about whether these climate policies will help manage climate change-driven hazards or worsen the situation. Finding behaviours that allow you to assess these perceptions won’t be easy. Multiple examples of beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, or reasoning help shape policy and social issues. The best approach to elicit these intangibles directly is a survey.

This article describes the best guide for using surveys in social research, explaining the design of the questions and experiments to respondents and data gathering to analyse social research survey responses.

Importance of Survey in Social Research

Surveys are short-term interviews and personalised discussions about a particular topic. During normal travel, you may have been accosted by someone asking a few questions. In public places, researchers tend to go more easily. They have a large population to ask general questions about their intended research.

Surveys are very important for writing academic papers and can collect much information relatively quickly because you can know the opinion of a person without knowing a detailed background. Additionally, every person has a different style and specific questions to ask. My method of surveying someone differs from others, which can lead to different responses, making your final product unusable.

There is a huge list of topics that you can research using a survey. You can start collecting background information and then move to your main questions, what do you think about the current economic inflation? How do you think this will affect your life? You thank them and move to the next participant.

It is important to note that a questionnaire study differs from a survey because it involves talking to people and collecting information through brief interviews. In contrast, a questionnaire does not involve talking to people.

Key Steps To Execute Surveys In Social Research

To conduct a successful survey, one must follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Identify participants of the survey
  • Choose the type of survey (mail, online, or in-person)
  • Develop the survey questions and layout
  • Implement and distribute a survey
  • Examine the response
  • Document the results

Types Of Surveys In Social Research

Various types of surveys can be commonly used. I have listed some for your review.

  • Face-to-face surveys
  • Telephone surveys
  • Paper and pencil surveys
  • Computer-assisted surveys

Design Of Questions In The Survey In Social Research

Now, you must know your questions and to whom you will ask the questions. There are the following things to consider:

  • Question type
  • Content of the question
  • The phrasing of the question
  • The design and layout of the survey

There are two types of survey questions, such as open-ended and closed-ended. Servey can use both types. In closed-ended questions, we give certain options to the participants and expect their answers within the set limit. Open-ended questions are best for surveys in social research; they allow the participant to answer in their own words.

You must carefully select the question in the survey to ensure the validity and reliability of your results. Your questions should be narrowly focused with enough context for the respondent to answer correctly. Do not put focus on the questions that are irrelevant to the survey.

  • Your questions must be clear and concise in terms of language.
  • Keep in mind the knowledge of the topic while tailoring the questions to your target audience.
  • Try to use easily understandable language and avoid words that have ambiguous meanings.
  • Focus on phrasing questions as neutral as possible with zero biasness towards one answer or another.

Your questions in surveys in social research must be asked in logical order. You can start with easy, non-sensitive, and closed-ended questions and move to open-ended ones. If the question’s answers are linked to previous questions, then ask them directly next to one another.

Use Of Technology In Surveys In Social Research

There are various survey tools available to conduct the survey. I have selected some tools based on easiness of usage, value, and compatibility. Some are listed below:

  • Qualtrics – Most Trusted Online Survey Tools
  • SurveySparrow – Best User Experience
  • SurveyMonkey – Best Overall
  • QuestionPro – Best for experience research
  • SurveyLegend – Emphasis on Privacy
  • Google Forms – Free Online Survey tool Great for Individual Projects
  • SoGoSurvey
  • Zoho Survey
  • KwikSurveys
  • Survey Nuts
  • Mopinion
  • Feedier
  • HubSpot
  • Paperform
  • Alchemer QuestionPro
  • Qualaroo by ProProfs
  • Typeform
  • Survicate
  • AskNicely

However, there are some distinctions between the features you receive with the paid version versus the free version. Sometimes paid versions offer added skills, such as

  • Paid survey tools also offer the option to add a follow-up question. This can be based on your answers to the previous question.
  • Many tools would not allow you to export data unless you start using the paid version.
  • With the most paid version, it is possible to eliminate the survey tool’s logo.
  • The free survey offers plenty of question types, such as multiple choice, ratings, drop-downs, and radio buttons, and paid versions can offer more.

Benefits Of Online Survey

Online surveys have numerous benefits over traditional methods because you can save money. I have listed some for review:

  • You will get a fast response from your online survey. Answers from online surveys can be obtained automatically and efficiently.
  • You do not need to spend money on postage. Additionally, you do not need the same resources and time to integrate responses on paper.
  • Writing the response on paper can be tricky, and you may leave out important information.
  • Entering survey responses into your computer system can be hectic. Copy-pasting of online information is much easier.
  • Online surveys can be accessed anywhere and everywhere. You can perform extensive research at scale, getting an improved understanding of your chosen topic and studying globally.

Response Collection And Results Analysis

You can opt for various methods for analysing the results of research surveys. If you have already selected an online tool, it is easy to extract the data. After statistical analysis, the survey results can be used to comprehend any proposed hypothesis. The quantitative form of results allows you to start writing your dissertation, thesis, or research paper.

You can describe how exactly you have surveyed the methodology section. You can explain the types of questions you used to ask, when and where the survey took place and the response rate. In the result section, you describe the key results obtained from your analysis.

Additional Remarks:

To avoid the limitations of the survey, you must frame and phrase your questions carefully. You should carefully report on the subtle reaction of persons interviewed. Cautiously interpret the data through clear recognition of the data’s limitations and understating what the data represents. This is especially true for this kind of question: What price would you be willing to pay for 1kg of flour? We also need to look at facts rather than absolute terms.


I understand that when you have to undergo social research by opting survey method, it becomes difficult to go everywhere and ask questions. But when there is a will, there is a way. When I was stuck in data collection, I also went for external dissertation help online from a reputable company, Affordable Dissertation UK, where top academic researchers helped me write my results and discussion chapter. So, you can also hire them if you are the one who is facing the same problems.


Leave a Reply