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Questionnaire vs Survey: Key Differences You Should Learn

Updated: Jan 14


Questionnaire vs survey - the difference between the two

People often get confused that a questionnaire and survey are the same thing but they are actually different. A questionnaire is a structured technique consisting of a series of questions asked of individuals or organisations, while a survey collects information and data from a targeted group of individuals either verbally or written, which is then processed and analysed. Insights can then be drawn from a survey about participants views, behaviour, attitudes in order for strategies to be formed and decisions to be made.


In this article, we will go into a bit more detail, so you can gain a better understanding of questionnaires and surveys including their purpose, the differences and how they are used.


What is a questionnaire?


A questionnaire is a structured data collection technique that comprises of a set of questions in written form to be asked of individuals, where the purpose is aimed at recording information from individuals answering these questions in a structured way.


There are different types of questions that can be used in a questionnaire, whether that’s closed questions, scaled and ranking questions, so the information can be quantified into figures later on. Plus, there are open ended questions, where people can express their opinions or views openly in as much detail about a topic or product of interest.


Screening questions can be applied in order for the relevant individuals to take part in follow-up research or to diagnose a problem.


To find out more about creating a research questionnaire, check out this post - how to design a good questionnaire



What is a survey?


A survey is a method of asking a select group of individuals their attitudes, views and behaviour, which is then analysed and generates key insights to help form strategies and for actions to be taken to tackle issues or explore possible opportunities. For example, this could be testing two separate designs of a product or advertising concepts to find out which one participants prefer.


In the gathering of information and data, there are different types of surveys, which can be administered in a variety of ways whether that be face to face, over the phone or most commonly online, where you can screen and target potential customers to take part in the research.


Routing in the survey can be used to take different groups of participants down separate avenues within the survey based on their previous answers. For example, in a segmentation survey, you can classify and analyse different groups of customers based on their particular traits whether that’s demographics or attitudes and behaviour.



Key difference between survey and questionnaire


Questionnaires are mainly known to be used for research projects but they are also used for subscribing to a service like an ecommerce website or used to diagnose problems such as registering for a doctor’s appointment, where you are likely to be asked for your details and the symptoms to a medical condition before speaking to a doctor. So basically, to gather this information in the form of a database for a business to use whether that’s for the service they provide or for marketing purposes providing consent has been given.


Surveys on the other hand are used to both collect and analyse customer feedback to make informed decisions on what strategy that a business may take, whether that’s to resolve underlying problems with a service, extend product features, ideas to develop new products or opportunities to exploit to get ahead of the competition.


The insights gained from the customer feedback are vital for all types businesses whether that’s a large international company to a small website. For example, analysing survey data collected from visitors to a website on what they liked and disliked about the site, the offerings, any improvements to enhance customer experience and if they are likely to recommend the site to others.


Hope you enjoyed this article; you will find the following post interesting - top 10 tips in how to do a survey.



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