A survey is a data gathering technique. It's an information collection tool, and a lot of organizations use these. Surveys allow organizations a way to gather data so that they can target the specific information that they want.
The following are examples of how surveys can be used:
In all of these examples, the survey is a tool being used to increase the amount of specific information someone has. For each survey, the researcher has selected the variables of interest, or the variables that he or she is interested in gathering data on.
A survey must be carefully designed to elicit the intended information. The survey design is an important element of surveys. If you are designing a survey, you want to get a representative sample of your population. So as with every sampling technique, designing a survey is all about the process and being able to get accurate data from a representative sample.
So, for example, if it's a survey about employment, you're going to want to ask about employment, former employment, current employment, and things like that.
Course Survey Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Agree 1. The course objectives have been clearly outlined for me. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 2. The methods for evaluating student work have been applied fairly. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 3. This course has challenged me intellectually. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 4. I have worked hard to meet the requirements of this course. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 5. This course was harder than I thought it was going to be. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 6. I looked forward to attending classes. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 7. I have learned a great deal. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 8. This course covered more material than I thought it was going to. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ 9. I know more now than before taking this course. ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍ ❍
This teacher wants to know whether or not she did a good job outlining course objectives. This survey asks about evaluating student work and academic challenge. You'll notice that she's provided answer choices from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
The teacher thought about all of the different things she wanted to learn from her students including her teaching and listed them all in her survey. The information she gathers from this survey will help her answer the question of how clearly she outlined her course objectives for her students.
Source: Adapted from Sophia tutorial by Jonathan Osters.