There are a number of reasons why surveys are undertaken, one of the reasons why surveys are undertaken is that collected data that will aid in decision making, for example a census in a country is undertaken to estimate the number of people in each region, this helps in decision making regarding the provision of public goods, fiscal policies and other services. Another example would be a job satisfaction survey that aims at collecting data regarding the level of satisfaction by workers; data will help companies to make decisions in order to improve job satisfaction. The other reason why survey is undertaken is to discover and provide further understanding of concepts, for example a survey may be undertaken to prove a certain theory.

Examples of surveys:


This is a survey that includes all the respondents in a population, the number of individuals in a region will help in decision making such as provision of public goods and other services. This number will also help in determining changes in population size, birth rate and death rates.

Company workers survey:

This survey may be undertaken to determine the level of job satisfaction, this will aid in decision


making regarding improving working conditions and benefits to motivate workers.

Market surveys:

Companies may undertake research regarding the attitude of consumers toward their products, this will help in decision making regarding improvement of their products.

Privacy and confidentiality of information:

When undertaking surveys respondents should remain anonymous whereby the respondents should not provide their name, address or phone numbers, however this information may be required due to some reason and therefore respondents should be assured of their privacy, this information may be required whereby follow ups can be undertaken in order to collect more data.

When personal information is collected then the respondents must be briefed on confidentiality of information collected, information collected should then be stored separately from survey results. Another ways to ensure privacy is ensuring that only authorised people have access to the information, deleting personal information that is no longer required, data collected such as location and age should be grouped into categories and finally those individuals who undertake these surveys should be trained on how to maintain privacy.


Survey information bias:

Information collected in a survey may be biased, some of the ways that information bias can be avoided include:

–  Questions asked should be short,

precise and clear, this is because long unclear

questions may confuse the


–  Avoid leading questions, these are

questions that suggest to the respondents the

required response, for

example “don’t you believe that the company is doing the best to


working conditions”.

barrelled, this refers to questions that require two

–  Questions should not be double

responses at the same

time but only one response is expected

–  Finally multiple choice questions

should be mutually exclusive, for example a question

regarding age should

contain all age groups.

Planning time:

A researcher should have ample time to plan and conduct a survey, this is because the researcher need time to prepare research tools such as questionnaires, and after they are prepared they should be pre tested to check for biased questions. The other reason why ample time is required is because some data collection interview such as face to face interview requires travelling and are time consuming. Finally analysis of data should be accurate and therefore more time is required to produce accurate results.


Herbert F. W. and Bruce D. B. (1996) An introduction to survey research. London: Macmillan