Find out which type of survey method will help you get the data and responses you need.
When you’re ready to conduct market research, you’ll likely include surveys. Survey methods are processes, tools, or techniques used to ask questions to a defined group of people. Which survey method will you choose? Let’s go through your options.
Rely on our library of pre-written survey questions and templates.
There are several types of survey methods. Every method can provide you with both qualitative and quantitative research data. Choose the best method based on your objective, timeline, budget, and sample needs.
An interview is a face-to-face survey. The interviewer asks questions of the respondents and records their responses for later analysis.
Similar to interviews, focus groups are traditionally an in-person survey method. Recently, there has been a rise in digital groups conducted online. Rather than one-on-one, the group consists of a group of about 6-10 people and a moderator. The moderator is in attendance to control the flow of discussion, keep the participants on track, and reduce bias.
When you choose a random group of people from your target audience to be part of a panel that takes recurring surveys over a period of time, you are panel sampling.
Panel sampling helps you get more accurate results because you are sampling a selection of respondents from the greater group. When you’re looking for a survey panel, SurveyMonkey Audience can help you get survey responses from even the most niche audience.
Data sampling can be jeopardized if the participant is a member of two or more similar panels. Their answers may differ based on the perceived advantages of receiving incentives from multiple panels.
Incentivized answers may skew the results—if the respondent’s main motivation is receiving the incentive, they may provide answers they perceive as desired by the study sponsor.
Most people have phones, whether landlines or mobile phones, so this can be a very useful method of performing surveys.
SMS surveys allow you to invite participants to enter a survey shortcode, click on a survey link, or answer survey questions directly through a text message. This increases the ease of taking the survey, because it can be completed on a mobile device.
SMS surveys tend to have a high open rate because they reach people on the device they never leave behind—their phones. Surveys sent by SMS, or text messaging can help you reach a wider audience. It’s also incredibly fast because people can respond while they’re on-the-go.
But, with SMS surveys, you must have users permission to be able to reach them via phone. You may see this as an FCC regulation, added to the bottom of lead forms in fine print. Also, you need to give users the opportunity to opt out of SMS surveys.
With SMS surveys, there is also limited space for elaboration, which makes the method unsuitable for studies that require in-depth explanation or context for answers.
Finally, SMS surveys can be costly depending on carrier charges depending on plans and carriers of both surveyors and respondents, this method can become expensive.
With SurveyMonkey, you can send surveys via SMS, social media, email, and more, and we’ll help you collect responses.
You may feel that paper surveys no longer hold a place in our high-tech world, but they are still of value.
Paper surveys are a good alternative for those without web access. If your target audience falls in a demographic with limited access to computers or is not tech-savvy, then paper surveys might be best.
Online surveys are the most popular type of survey method, as they make it easy to collect both quantitative and qualitative data.
Easily customizable online survey forms are simple to create and make data collection effortless.
Proprietary surveys are conducted confidentially for brand use. The data is not available to the public.
Email survey questions and response collection are not used as often today. It is more efficient to use email to send a link to an online survey.
In-app surveys are integrated into mobile apps, you are able to collect data as your customer is interacting with key elements of the customer journey on your app.
Third-party surveys are conducted by companies dedicated to administering surveys. These can be used when collecting data from employees.
Certain portions of the population do not have easy access to the internet—look closely at your target demographic to determine if this is an issue. No interviewer available to clarify questions if there is uncertainty—questions must be stated clearly with context and directions where necessary.
Promotional kiosks may be placed in malls or other public places to collect data after an interaction with a brand.
One of the challenges with kiosk surveys is that anyone can take the survey, for example, if they’re walking by the kiosk. Other times, kiosk surveys might not be noticed or may be ignored—if not pointed out by store staff, it may not capture the attention of potential respondents.
There’s also the chance that launching surveys from your kiosk means there will be technical issues.
To choose the best survey method for you, determine the following:
Now that you're familiar with the different types of survey formats, let's look at a hypothetical survey research situation that could benefit from them.
Company X has invented a new organic sports drink. Before they reproduce their product in high volume, they want to test the market to determine which region and stores it would sell the most in. They also want to get a better idea of the type of consumer who would buy their product.
Create a target population of consumers who drink the competitor's product. Ask questions about what they like and dislike about the taste, price, packaging, and more. The interviewer can also ask where they purchased the competitor's product and how often.
Survey the consumer’s experience engaging with the product using a face-to-face interview, focus group, or questionnaire. In-person methods allow the interviewer to read respondents' body language and social cues, but they cost more money and are time intensive.
Since the sports beverage industry is competitive, conducting more than one study may be wise. Certain regions might have different preferences for various reasons. So, it's best to create a panel of respondents who represent all the regions the company plans to sell its sports drink.
Company X must determine how many respondents it wants in to survey. Then it must find a facility where respondents can comfortably test your product without distractions and then easily provide feedback.
Before beginning any research, Company X needs to assess its objective and budget to determine what kind of research it can afford. Some regions may consume sports drinks but have limitations to consider.
Consider these variable when conduciting survey research for products and other services.
There are several types of survey methods available to meet your research needs. Sign up for SurveyMonkey and we’ll help you determine what method is right for you.