Surveys are a quantitative measure of observation. Surveys are a written, structured series of questions or probes that collect information from publics. Four types will be discussed: Face-to Face Interviews, Telephone Interviews, Self-Administered Surveys and Mailed Surveys. All four types have advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed when deciding which survey to conduct. Surveys can contain open-ended or close-ended questions. Open-ended questions do not have a predetermined set of options, the respondent can fill in an answer. Close-ended questions are limited to a set of options provided on the survey.
- Face-to- Face Interviews: The survey guides the face-to-face interviews. A trained interviewer collects and codes the data directly.
The major advantage is the trust that the interviewer builds with the respondent. Visual aids can also be shown to help the respondent respond. The main disadvantage is high cost and time. Another disadvantage is that since the interviewer is present, the respondent might be discouraged to give honest answers.
- Telephone Interviews: Telephone interviews are the most popular method of observation using structured surveys. Telephone interviews are a low cost and time saving approach to the face-to-face interviews. An advantage is that the interviews can be conducted back to back, saving time. Since the respondents are anonymous, sometimes the interviewer can obtain answers to sensitive questions. A disadvantage is the restricted type of questions that can be asked due to no visual aids and limitation of choices. A major disadvantage is refusals and early termination of the interview.
- Self-Administered Surveys: The surveys are handed directly to the respondent and filled out. A main advantage is that the respondent can see the questions, even the long items that can not be asked in telephone interviews. Respondents' questions can be answered because the person administering the survey is present. Visual aids can be used. This survey form has a high response rate and a low refusal rate. A disadvantage is that respondents might make errors and not complete the survey. A general rule is keep it simple. Direct access to the respondents is also necessary to administer the survey.
- Mailed Surveys: The mailed survey is a version of the self-administered survey. The survey is mailed to the respondent, where it can be filled out and mailed back. A major advantage is low cost. Geographically dispersed publics can be reached easily through the mail. The main disadvantage is that the survey might be ignored. Response rate is affected by many factors including content and length of the survey. The organization sponsoring the survey also affects the response rate.
Created by: Amy Colson
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