The Survey method is the technique of gathering data by asking questions to people who are thought to have desired information. A formal list of questionnaire is prepared. Generally a non disguised approach is used. The respondents are asked questions on their demographic interest opinion.
Advantages of Survey Method
- As compared to other methods (direct observation, experimentation) survey yield a broader range of information. Surveys are effective to produce information on socio-economic characteristics, attitudes, opinions, motives etc and to gather information for planning product features, advertising media, sales promotion, channels of distribution and other marketing variables.
- Questioning is usually faster and cheaper that Observation.
- Questions are simple to administer.
- Data is reliable
- The variability of results is reduced.
- It is relatively simple to analyze, quote and interrelate the data obtained by survey method
Disadvantages of Survey Method
- Unwillingness of respondents to provide information- This requires salesmanship on the part of the interviewer. The interviewer may assure that the information will be kept secret or apply the technique of offering some presents.
- Inability of the respondents to provide information- This may be due to
- Lack of knowledge
- Lapse of memory
- Inability to identify their motives and provide reasons why? for their actions
- Human Biases of the respondents are there, for eg: Ego
- Symantec difficulties are there - it is difficult, if not impossible, to state a given question in such a way that it will mean exactly same thing to each respondent. Similarly two different wordings of the same question will frequently produce quite different results.
How to overcome the limitations of Survey Method
- Careful framing and phrasing of questions.
- Careful control of data gathering by employing specially trained investigators who will observe carefully report on subtle reactions of persons interviewed
- Cautious interpretations by a clear recognition of the limitations of the data and understating of what exactly the data represents. This is especially true of responses to questions like - What price would you be willing to pay for this product?
- Looking at facts in relative rather than absolute terms. For eg - A survey by a dentist team showed that the number of families in the middle income group used toothpaste taken by itself in the absolute sense, the results of the survey are in some doubt. Even though the individual group readings shall differ say for eg: for upper income group families it could be 90 %. Hence we should look at the facts in relative rather than in absolute terms