Questionnaire vs Survey: Which one best suits your purpose?
Questionnaires and surveys are two terms used interchangeably all around but the question that arises is, are they actually synonyms for one another, or is there a difference between the two? If there is any difference between the two then how can one decide what best suits their purpose of research? Well, worry not. This blog is all about questionnaires and surveys and will clear all your questions about the same. So let’s dive right there.
Questionnaire vs Survey
Questionnaires and Surveys are not synonyms for one another but they are used interchangeably on a large scale because of the nature of differences they have with one another. Being a researcher or conducting a thorough research work, one should be very particular about the difference between the two. The importance of understanding the difference between questionnaire and survey will be significant when one will clearly understand the difference between the two.
A questionnaire can be understood as nothing more than a written set of questions. On the other hand, a survey is much more vast and diverse than a questionnaire.
A survey, unlike a questionnaire, does not only include a set of questions but also incorporates the whole procedure of sending that questionnaire to the audience, aggregating that collected information at a place in an organized manner, and analyzing the same. To understand all this in simple terms, we can say that a questionnaire is a subset of a survey.
Now that we know the difference between questionnaire and survey, pointing out the similarities is not a difficult task. But still, I will make the work easy for you.
The part of a survey that relates to framing and arranging the set of questions into a valid sequence comes under questionnaire as well and this is where the similarity lies between questionnaire v/s survey.
Anything other than framing and arranging questions like collecting information, organizing information, making it presentable, and analyzing the data is something that does not come under the questionnaire, and hence here lies the difference.
Till now we have a clear idea about the differences and similarities that lie in questionnaire v/s surveys but it still does not answer an important question: why is it important to understand the difference between questionnaire and surveys? It is very crucial to understand the difference between questionnaires v/s surveys because they can widely impact the sole purpose of conducting the research.
As we know that questionnaires are all about collecting data, they can include any kind of data that may or may not further be able to generate insight and get us to a conclusion.
If one’s motive is far more than data collecting then the person should frame a survey rather than a questionnaire. The importance of understanding the difference between questionnaire and survey lies in the fact it can impact the kind and quality of questions, based on the motive of conducting research.
Let’s take a hypothetical example to help understand the importance of questionnaire v/s surveys. Assume that there is a company ‘ABC’. The company wants to conduct research with two different motives. One motive is to analyze the downfall in the sales percentage of their product and the other motive is to collect feedback from their consumers to check the quality of their service.
By looking at the motives, one can clearly identify that the first motive is about analyzing and drawing conclusions from the data i.e., the first motive is quantitative in nature. However, when we look at the second motive, we can see that it is qualitative in nature.
Taking this case and using our knowledge of questionnaire v/s surveys, we can conclude that for the first motive we will conduct a survey as it will include collecting data, organizing data, and analyzing the same. Similarly, for the second motive, we can say that it only includes data collection and hence we can go ahead with a simple questionnaire for the audience.
Sometimes, it becomes quite confusing to choose between a questionnaire and a survey or to analyze what can be best for our purpose of research and data collection. To clear your understanding and make things easier for you and your research there are some use cases for which questionnaires and surveys have been found to be the best fit for such circumstances and data collection purposes.
For collecting any sort of qualitative data, for instance, say, contact information in the form of email or phone number, a questionnaire is the best-suited option as one’s motive is just to gather information and not analyze anything further from that information collected.
However, for generating insights, people prefer to focus more on quantitative data rather than qualitative and so for a situation where you need to infer something from the data, conducting a survey has proved to be the best option.
In order to conduct a successful survey, it is very crucial to get the right questionnaire. Got confused? Worry not, you will understand as you read along.
Though there is a difference between questionnaire and survey, the latter depends on the former. The questionnaire is the first and foremost part of conducting a survey. If you have the right sets of questions, organized in an orderly manner with you the chances of getting higher response increases and hence the quality of your survey and final analysis.
A questionnaire is all about getting the right set of questions in an orderly manner and so it ends there. But there are certain things to keep in mind while framing your questionnaire- the length of your questionnaire, the order in which your questions are arranged, and the language and tone of your questionnaire. If we maintain the balance of these things then be it a stand-alone questionnaire or a questionnaire that is a part of a survey, the chance of getting data increases.
One might or might not be aware of the type of survey but the same applies to questionnaires. Both questionnaires and surveys have many types and we will name a few major ones.
Types of questionnaires:
- Quantitative questionnaire
- Qualitative questionnaire
- Demographic questionnaire
- Psychographic questionnaire
- Pictorial questionnaire
- Scaled questionnaire
Types of Surveys:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey
- Customer satisfaction survey
- Customer feedback survey
- Employee experience survey
- Enterprise survey
- Customer effort score (CES) survey
Now that we know all about the questionnaire v/s survey we can easily conclude by saying that questionnaire is nothing but a set of questions. However, when we add the process of collecting, organizing, and analyzing the data from those sets of questions we call it a survey. In terms of differences and similarities, there is nothing more than the fact that questionnaires can either be standalone or a subset of a survey but the purpose for which they are conducted can vary indifferently and can truly affect the purpose of collecting data and so one should be very mindful when choosing between questionnaire v/s survey.