Survey vs. Questionnaire: For Data Collection (With Tips)

Survey vs. Questionnaire

What’s the difference between a survey and a questionnaire? A lot of people use these terms interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings.

  • A survey is a research method that involves asking participants a series of questions in order to collect data.
  • A questionnaire is simply one type of survey instrument. It consists of a series of questions that are asked of respondents in a standardized way.

We’ll look at this in more below, and we’ll also discuss the differences between surveys and questionnaires and give you some key tips for designing effective surveys and questionnaires.

Keep reading to learn more!

Table of contents
When to use a questionnaire vs survey?
What Is a questionnaire?
What is a survey?
Tips to make an effective questionnaire
Tips to make an effective survey
Popular questionnaire types
Popular survey types
Differences between questionnaires & surveys?
Similarities between surveys & questionnaires?
Which one is btter for data collection?

When to use a questionnaire vs survey?

Knowing the difference between survey and questionnaire is important for a number of reasons.

1. Understand what data you’re trying to collect

If you gather information about people’s opinions or beliefs, a questionnaire would be the right choice. If you want to compile statistical data about how people feel about a certain product, then a survey would be more appropriate.

2. Know what type of data is being collected

It can help you structure your questions so they will yield the information you need most effectively.

3. Collect data that will be useful

If you are conducting market research on which foods people like best (and why), a questionnaire would be better suited because it allows for more specific questions about taste preferences and other factors like food allergies that may affect statistical data from respondents.

Survey for manual, Try different platforms with different questionnaire formatsanswering

What Is a questionnaire?

Questionnaires are research tools containing a series of questions that are used to collect useful details from participants.

If a researcher or marketer wants to know what consumers or citizens think about an issue, a questionnaire can be an effective means of gaining that insight.


  • It is a good way to collect quantitative data quickly and easily.
  • It is cheap and can be used when conducting a survey by mail or through the Internet.
  • It can be better than surveys where the interviewer can express their opinions and bias on the survey takers thus changing the entire results of the survey.
  • The survey takers have complete privacy when doing self-administered and demographic questionnaires because there is no one else with them at that time.

What is a survey?

A survey is a tool that allows you to obtain a public opinion in large numbers anywhere on the globe.

It’s like talking to 20 people at once about one thing. It can be used for varied purposes such as getting feedback or support on a product or asking leading questions/polls to your target audience.


  • It is useful if you want to know how a large group of people feel (or think) about something, and you don’t want to ask everyone individually, e.g. medical history.
  • They are the way to go when you want lots and lots of input on a specific topic, such as what kinds of products someone wants in the future or what kinds of changes they’d like to see with their current products.
  • They work best to identify trends, where many people have opinions.

Stay stick with specific questionnaire design, Simple surveys have potential to gather responses

Tips to make an effective questionnaire

1. Consider Different Formats

Consider different types of formats for your survey.

Written surveys are typically easier to distribute, but interviews provide more information and can help you connect with underserved audiences.

Prioritize what your target audience’s needs are and what you want to obtain from the survey.

2. Be Specific With Your Questionnaire Design

Qualitative questionnaires are essential for specific and accurate data collection. Otherwise, the interviewer’s perceptions and beliefs could distort responses.

It is because many respondents could be frustrated and would ignore your lost research investment.

3. Keep It Simple, Valid, And Reliable

It’s important to keep survey questions simple and easy to answer, so invest time in careful item wording and good survey design

Whenever possible, limit the number of response options. Using a Likert scale (agree strongly, agree somewhat to disagree somewhat) will allow you to check for underlying attitudes.

4. Set Expectations For Survey Duration

Surveys are intended to give feedback and this can be done quickly. This does not mean that you should equip your survey only with basic questions, it is important to set reasonable expectations for the time you need from your participants.

5. Make The Survey Engaging

Before you launch your survey among respondents, make sure you are familiar with factors affecting surveys and have made it engaging to get the maximum response rate.

If your collaboration is not good with participants, you won’t be able to collect more raw data which is an important factor to support your research.

Tips to make an effective survey

Having a fine set of tips for effective surveys can save both your time and money.

Here’re some tips you should know before conducting a survey.

Start with an introduction

If you want an effective survey that will make a difference, you must start with an introduction.

It must define the survey objectives, benefits to all parties, and any restrictions or limitations of the survey.

Keeping people captivated and engaged throughout these few opening lines will ensure their desire to continue reading.

2. Use Visualizations

Prepare all the qualitative and quantitative data in a fast way by visualizations instead of writing separately.

They get people involved because they are interactive, making them curious and passionate about the subject.

Consider using charts, graphs, infographics, and more in your survey.

3. Focus on key facts first

Cut off any unnecessary questions and get straight to the point.

Focus on key facts first. Otherwise, survey respondents may be overwhelmed and skim through your questions.

There are certain tips and rules of thumb you should follow if you want your survey responses to be valued as well as actionable.

4. Categorize results

An effective categorization will help users to answer each and every question. It will also help to establish a clear hierarchy for customer satisfaction to read your survey. This might be one of the best tips for you before designing a survey!

5. Summarize your findings

You need to summarize your findings before you can analyze them.

Summaries lay out the highlights of a report and can help readers remember their most important takeaways. They also offer guidelines on what information to focus on in a report.

6. Integrate company branding

You know your company better than anyone else. So, there’s no point in writing a survey based on your personal understanding of the topic. Instead, use your brand colors, logos, and fonts to attract more prospects.

Survey engagement improves response rate, Introduction in survey creates strong pitch

Popular questionnaire types

Questionnaires are classified into different types, depending on the type of questions asked.

  • Mail Questionnaire: A Mail Questionnaire is created to study the nature of a topic, service, or product. This questionnaire is prepared in the form of a letter so that it can be sent by mail.
  • Computer Questionnaire: These quantitative questionnaires are basically forms of self-administered and demographic questionnaires. They are developed in the computer and can be filled, stored, and analyzed using a computer.
  • Telephone Questionnaire: It is one in which the results are gathered by means of a survey of the general population.
  • Multiple Choice Questionnaire: It is an important part of the process because it allows you to ask your employees about the aspects of their job that are the most important.
  • In-House Questionnaire: It is a paper that is prepared for assessing employees’ performance, experience, and skills.
  • Scaling Questionnaire: A scaling questionnaire is a questionnaire that is developed to measure the intensity of the experiences of emotions, feelings, and attitudes towards objects, situations, or people.
  • Open Question Questionnaire: This type of questionnaire is created in a fashion where the open-ended questions posed to the respondent are not necessarily leading.

Popular survey types

Survey types include:

  • Online Survey Method: It is a type of questionnaire that is created and distributed via the internet. The survey can be either free or paid, depending on how much information you want to obtain. Paid surveys are usually worth more than free online surveys, but it’s up to you which one you decide to go with.
  • Phone Survey: Phone surveys are a type of quick marketing survey that can be created when you have a large number of people to contact and make statistical analysis, such as in the case of market qualitative data research.
  • Mail Surveys: Mail surveys can be sent out using paper-based or electronic formats like emails and SMSs (text messages) for broad-scale distribution to get customer feedback.
  • Face-to-Face Surveys: This type of survey is conducted in person, typically at the respondent’s home or workplace. It can be conducted with the help of a tablet computer or laptop computer (called an “interactive” survey), with the interviewer explaining each question before accessing it on their device.
  • Kiosk Surveys: It is a business intelligence tool that helps you better understand the differences between one store and another. This makes it a perfect tool for identifying areas where you can improve sales and profits, or where others have done better.
  • Focus Groups: A focus group is a form of qualitative data research that gathers feedback about people’s opinions, likes, desires, and needs. It allows a company to get direct input from the customers, the ultimate experts on their own preferences.
  • Panel Sampling: In this type of sampling, researchers conduct surveys by contacting members who have already agreed to participate.

Graphs and charts add more value to your survey, Key facts should be your priority in surveys

Differences between questionnaires & surveys?

  • A questionnaire is a research method that collects data by asking questions to a sample of the population.
  • A survey is a research method that collects data by asking questions to a representative sample of the population.

The difference between these two methods can be confusing because:

  • Questionnaires are sometimes called surveys (e.g. when they are used in the market research project).
  • Surveys can be referred to as questionnaires (e.g. if they ask only yes/no or multiple-choice questions).

Similarities between surveys & questionnaires?

As you begin to think about what type of research method you want to use, it will be helpful for you to know that there are some similarities between conducting surveys and questionnaires.

The two most important similarities between surveys and questionnaires are:

  • Both methods are used to collect responses, in quantitative research, from a group of people, in a specific way.
  • They both require that all questions be answered by each member of the population being studied (or sample).

Which one is btter for data collection?

The short answer is that a questionnaire and a survey are both used by a survey maker and are ways to collect data from people.

But there are some important differences to be aware of before you pull out your pen and paper.

Using a questionnaire, the survey maker collects information about a specific topic or issue, while a survey collects information on broad topics such as demographics, attitudes, or behaviors.

A questionnaire can be used to assess the general health of an organization’s workforce, while a survey can be used to determine how people feel about their workplace environment after moving into a new office space.


In conclusion, a survey is all about asking the audience for their opinion, either about a product or service or to gather information about the kind of information that you want to know the answer to.

A questionnaire on the other hand is used to collect information regarding customer satisfaction in order to improve products, and services and give better service.

It depends on your company’s needs whether you should use a survey or questionnaire.

Want To Know More? Check Our FAQ Below!

What is a survey questionnaire?

A survey questionnaire is an efficient way to gather statistical information fast.

It allows you to collect data from a large number of people, using standardized questions, in an economical manner.

It also permits you to collect data in different geographical locations, or among different types of people (geographically dispersed or demographic).

Which type of survey is more assertive?

The most important thing we have learned from our research is that the best way to minimize sampling errors and get high-quality data collection is to design a short, focused survey.

By keeping your survey short, you will be able to reach your target audience while still providing excellent customer feedback.

How long should a research survey be?

Recent research has shown that survey data quality declines as both offline and online surveys run longer than 20 minutes, so it is best to allow your survey to be as short as possible: try to keep it to no more than 15 or 20 minutes.

What difference can a questionnaire bring in market research?

Questionnaires are the most cost-effective method of market research available to you.

Because there’s no need to invest in additional technology and other resources, it can be conducted more quickly than others such as surveys or polls.

Companies who want greater detail can add pages or questions to their questionnaires as needed.

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