What is Survey Research?

What is Survey Research?

By Insight Platforms

  • article
  • Qualitative Research
  • Automated Survey Research
  • Survey Research
  • Employee Surveys
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Surveys
  • User Surveys
  • Product Testing
  • Opinion Polling
  • Concept Testing
  • User Feedback
  • Qual-Quant Hybrid
  • Agile Quantitative Research

Survey research is a versatile data collection method from a set group of individuals to gain insights or understand patterns of behavior, opinions, or preferences.

Get up to speed on survey research in this Insight Platforms Academy course:

The purpose of survey research is to gather quantitative or qualitative information that can be analyzed and interpreted to draw conclusions or make informed decisions. The data collected through surveys enables researchers to identify trends, evaluate the impact of certain factors, or assess public opinion on a particular issue.

A typical survey project will look something like this:

  • There is a decision to be made and there’s a need for insights from consumers/users to be able to make that decision (e.g. A food delivery app wants to know if they should introduce grocery delivery as a service)
  • The research team will design a quiz (screener) that will help them find the people who are best suited to take this survey (e.g. People who live in a set geographical area that received a food delivery in the past 3 months.)
  • Researchers will design a set of questions (questionnaire) that will help them make the initial decision
  • Survey programmers will then insert these questions into a survey tool and send it out to the pre-defined sample
  • Researchers will analyze the results and make a recommendation

While survey research is a valuable tool, it is not without its pitfalls/ hazards.

Some common drawbacks faced when conducting survey research are incorrect or unbalanced profiling, double-meaning questions, wrong questionnaire logic, research bias, unreliable respondents, high costs, time, and more.

Many of these challenges can be identified and avoided by working with a specialized tool/vendor that has pre-defined templates you can work from and adequate resources for support.

Below, we’ve collected 10 common uses of survey research.

Brand Health

Brand Health refers to the perception of a product or company by its audience and how it is experienced by individuals.

Brand Health surveys serve as a crucial tool in gauging and quantifying how a brand is perceived by its target audience.

Survey research strategies for Brand Health evaluate metrics such as Brand Positioning and Brand Performance Evolution by providing a systematic and structured approach to gather insights from a target audience. Common inquiries companies might include in survey research for Brand Health include:

  • Which brands do people know about?
  • Do they know about our brand?
  • What do they think or feel about our brand?
  • Are people willing to try our brand?
  • Do people prefer our brand to competitors?

Read more on Brand Tracking here.

Advertising Testing

Advertising pre-test surveys evaluate the effectiveness of commercials by gauging audience reactions and perceptions before widespread dissemination. In short: Advertising Pre-Test surveys measure if people like the ad (commercial) and if they are convinced by its message.

Advertising testing often includes Database Benchmarking to compare the performance of new ads against historical data – this helps get a feel for the effectiveness of different creative elements and strategies. Storyboards are also used to illustrate the sequential flow of an ad’s narrative and provide advertisers with insight into the coherence and engagement potential of the storyline before production.

These surveys address crucial questions such as:

  • Will people understand what the ad is about?
  • Is the ad saying the correct message?
  • How can we improve the ad?
  • Will this ad encourage people to buy the product?

Read more on Advertising Testing here.

Concept Testing

Did you know that every year 30,000 new consumer products are launched… and 95% of them will fail?

Concept Testing is a form of survey research that measures how a new product or service appeals to people and potential consumers. This process provides valuable insights into consumer purchase intent that guide decision-making, refine product development strategies, and enhance the likelihood of successful market reception.

Inquiries that are often included during Concept Testing ask:

  • Is this concept relevant, unique, likeable?
  • Will people buy this product?
  • How many people will buy it?
  • How much will people pay for this?
  • Does this product make sense for my brand?

Read more on Concept Testing here.

Product Testing

Product testing is a method of survey research that involves obtaining hands-on feedback from potential users and providing a realistic and practical assessment of a product’s performance, features, and overall user experience. This direct engagement with users helps identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, contributing to informed decisions in product development and refinement.

Product Testing often aims to uncover insights on purchase intent:

  • Does the product deliver on the promise of the concept?
  • Will people buy this product?
  • How many people will buy it?
  • How much will people pay for this?
  • Does this product make sense for my brand?
  • Are there any problems with the product?
  • How can we improve specific features?

Read more on Product Testing here.

Profiling Audiences

Profiling and segmentation surveys help identify who people are, what they think or feel, and how they behave.

Through these surveys, researchers can segment populations based on shared characteristics and tailor marketing strategies, products, or services to specific target audiences more effectively. This nuanced approach fosters a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives across segments.

Important questions brands should keep in mind when looking to profile audiences include:

  • What types of people should we target?
  • How many of them are there?
  • What do they need?
  • How do they behave?
  • What do they buy?
  • Where do they buy it?

Customer Experience

Customer Experience (CX) research surveys are instrumental in gauging and understanding how customers feel about their interactions with a product or service.

These surveys delve into the customer journey, assessing satisfaction levels, identifying pain points, and uncovering areas for improvement. Customer Experience (CX) surveys often incorporate metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) to assess overall customer satisfaction and loyalty in a succinct numerical representation.

Common questions inquired during Customer Experience Survey Research, include:

  • How satisfied are people with the experience?
  • What improvements could be made?
  • Which touchpoints are delivering positive or negative experiences?

Read more on Customer Experience (CX) Feedback here.

Employee Experience

Happy employees make for happier customers!

Employee experience surveys play a pivotal role by quantifying satisfaction and motivation among staff, providing organizations with valuable insights to cultivate a positive workplace environment that, in turn, translates into enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty.

These insights allow businesses to identify areas for enhancement, foster a positive work culture, and ultimately cultivate an environment that contributes to both employee well-being and organizational success.

Some commonly asked Employee Experience survey research questions are:

  • Are employees proud to work here?
  • Do people feel valued?
  • Would they recommend working here?
  • How could we improve the employee experience?

Read more on Employee Experience (EX) here.

User Feedback

User feedback surveys offer crucial context and understanding for a website or app analytics data from user behavior. These insights act as a qualitative companion to the quantitative website or app analytics data. While analytics provide numerical metrics on user interactions, user feedback surveys offer qualitative insights by capturing the subjective experiences and opinions of users to help businesses interpret the “why” behind the data. This allows them to pinpoint specific issues, uncover user preferences, and implement targeted enhancements that align with user expectations.

User Feedback survey research typically poses the following questions:

  • Why do people come to the site?
  • What do they want to accomplish?
  • Can they find what they want?
  • What would make them come back?
  • Are they satisfied?

Read more on User Feedback here.

Opinion Polling

Public opinion polls are interviews with people to provide a snapshot of collective sentiment and insights into the public perception of a specific topic.

These continuous insights help brands understand the diverse perspectives that shape public discourse that could impact or influence how people see and interact with a brand.

Opinion Polling typically seeks insights into the following:

  • Voting Intention
  • Responses to major events
  • Attitudes to proposed policies

Read more on Opinion Polling here.

Social Research

Social research is one of the most relied-on methods for collecting insights on performance and measurement to support evidence-based decision-making across government departments, public bodies, and charities.

Social research plays a pivotal role in informing policies, fostering social change, and advancing our comprehension of the complex fabric of human society.

Examples of inquiries explored with Social Research include:

  • How does crime affect communities?
  • What healthcare priorities should we set?
  • Which carbon and waste reduction initiatives will people adopt?
  • How are the needs of minority groups being met?

Survey research is a versatile data collection method that, when used correctly, can help researchers gain invaluable insights into patterns of behavior, opinions, or preferences.


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