Surveys can provide invaluable feedback from your leaders, employees, customers, vendors, and even prospective customers. Deciding you want to solicit feedback is just the beginning: you’ll also need to decide what kind of survey you’ll use. How many types of surveys are there? Which types of survey methods should you use?
Because different methods can generate different results, it’s important to understand your options before you start soliciting feedback. “Method” simply means the process you use to get feedback or data, which is influenced by your survey objective, budget, sample size, and timeline.
Here’s an overview of the best survey methods in 2023, so you can choose the methods best suited for the task.
What are the different forms of survey research?
Survey methods are grouped into two major categories: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data is objective and numbers-based, such as how many customers rated your product line five out of five stars. Qualitative data is interpretation-based, and often is subjective, language-related content. Knowing which kind of data you want to collect will help you refine your survey methods from the beginning.
Here are different types of survey methods:
- Face-to-face interviews: In-person interviews are not as common as they used to be, but are still suitable for many purposes. This type of survey is good for collecting qualitative data. Interviewers might ask questions so they can observe the subject’s emotional reaction, body language, and other subjective clues as to how the subject is feeling. Taking video preserves these responses for future analysis.
- Focus groups: Focus groups are a very popular type of survey method for groups like large companies and political parties. This is one of the most expensive types of survey, because participants usually must be heavily incentivized—expect to spend $75 to $100 per participant, plus fees for the moderator and the physical location, if applicable. That said, focus groups can provide great feedback: getting people in a group to talk (or even argue) about a product, service, concept, or public figure offers key insights into how your survey subject is received in a group setting.
- Kiosk surveys: Kiosk surveys happen on screens at physical locations, typically right after a customer has made a purchase. This offers immediate feedback, when the interaction is still fresh in the respondent’s mind. However, people in a rush are less likely to stick around and fill out the survey. You will probably have better luck collecting quantitative data from a kiosk, since the setting isn’t conducive to open-ended questions or long-form answers.
- Mail-in surveys: Mail-in surveys are relatively inexpensive to conduct. While they’re not as reliable as other survey methods, they’re more successful than phone surveys. Mail-in surveys are good for longer surveys, and mailing to a specific household or person makes them feel more personal than other methods. This is a good way to collect both qualitative and quantitative responses.
- Mobile surveys: Nearly everyone has a mobile phone these days, and mobile surveys are a great way to ask a few quick questions. Many online survey platforms have options to make any survey mobile-friendly. While respondents may not be inclined to type out long-form answers on their device, it’s a good opportunity for soliciting quantitative feedback, like rating customer service on a scale of one to 10.
- Online surveys: Online surveys are popular because of their convenience, customization options, and scalability. Survey takers can solicit feedback from much larger audiences, while still remaining cost-effective. Online surveys can be collected through text, audio, or video responses, too, making it easy to receive both quantitative and qualitative feedback. This is an effective way to reach international audiences, particularly if your survey platform supports multiple languages.
- Panel sampling: Research companies often offer panels of people who specifically sign up to take surveys. These are usually incentivized by the research company. It’s a good way to get guaranteed responses—but keep in mind that the respondents may rush through your survey to get to the reward. Panel sampling is best used for quantitative data.
- Paper surveys: Paper surveys are often used at physical locations, like comment cards in hotels. They’re good for reaching people right after they’ve had an experience with a product or service, and can collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Paper surveys tend to be more popular with older demographics and people who have issues accessing online or mobile surveys. However, they’re not environmentally friendly, and not as cost-effective as some other methods.
- Phone surveys: Phone surveys were once popular, but that is no longer the case. Unless you’re specifically targeting an older demographic, most people today do not answer phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize.
- Pop-up surveys: Pop-up surveys might show up on an app or website. A dialog box typically pops up, temporarily disabling the rest of the website or app until the user takes the survey or closes the pop-up. This is certainly an attention-grabbing survey method, but it runs the risk of annoying the respondent or customer.
Create multimedia surveys with Voiceform
Different types of survey methods can produce dramatically different results, costs, and response timelines. Online surveys are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to collect quantitative and qualitative data—as long as you have the right platform.
Voiceform’s robust multimedia surveys empower you to collect data in innovative ways. The platform enables you to conduct online and mobile surveys, with the qualitative benefits of phone and face-to-face surveys. Whether you’re collecting customer testimonials, product feedback, market research, or other data, Voiceform will securely collect the data and provide powerful analytics. To find out more about Voiceform and how it supports different survey methods, sign up for a free demo today.