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Research Methods Information: Survey Research

A comprehensive resource for faculty and students who are teaching and conducting research.

Survey Research Resources

What is Survey Research?


What is survey research?

"The broad area of survey research encompasses any measurement procedures that involve asking questions of respondents. A "survey" can be anything form a short paper-and-pencil feedback form to an intensive one-on-one in-depth interview." [From the Research Methods Knowledge Base]

An Introduction to Survey Research Methods

Presented by: Patrick Sturgis Ph.D.
Published: 2015 | Publisher: SAGE Publications | Duration: 07:54


Finding survey research info in the APUS Library | Suggested search phrases
  • survey kit
  • survey basics
  • survey handbook

Not sure how to search the library? See these FAQs.

Types of Surveys

Surveys tend to be divided into two broad categories: questionnaire and interview.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Survey Methods.
[From Trochim, W. M.K. (2006). Research Methods Knowledge Base.]


What is a questionnaire?

Merriam-Webster provides these definitions:

  • A set of questions for obtaining statistically useful or personal information from individuals.
  • A written or printed questionnaire often with spaces for answers.
  • A survey made by the use of a questionnaire.


What is an interview?

The OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms defines a survey as The

"A survey is an investigation about the characteristics of a given population by means of collecting data from a sample of that population and estimating their characteristics through the systematic use of statistical methodology."

Survey Best Practices

Developing Your Own Survey

Designing a Survey

Writing Survey Questions

Sample Size Calculator

Finding Survey Research

Finding Examples of Survey Research

It may be useful to see how other researchers have conducted a survey investigation. Locating a study by its methodology can be a challenge, however, as not all databases tag (or index) their research studies with the type of data collection used. Direct keyword searching can often help you identify examples of survey research studies.

Keyword Search

A good way to locate survey studies is to do a keyword search. For example, enter your topic along with the search terms survey, questionnaire, or interviews.


"quality of health care" AND survey
"quality of health care" AND questionnaire
"quality of health care" AND interviews
"transportation planning" AND survey
"transportation planning" AND questionnaire
"transportation planning" AND interviews

You can do this search in our individual databases or by using our Summon search tool that will let you search most of our library's resources (ebooks, articles, videos and more) at once - from a single search box.

To learn more about locating full-text content using Summon, take a look at this FAQ: How do I find full text in Summon?

Using Existing Surveys

Secondary Survey Data and Data Sets

Using Secondary Data

Survey Ethics

See also this section on the Research Methods Information guide: Institutional Review Board and Research Ethics

Survey Software

Open Web Survey Software (Free)


Proprietary Survey Software ($)


Software with Academic Discount
FAQ: Where can I find free or discounted software?