Survey methodology

The survey (also opinion survey or interview ) is a research method in many fields of research and science. It is used to systematically collect information on attitudes, opinions, knowledge, and behaviors of people.

Surveys are a classic tool of many scientific disciplines, for example, the empirical social science, economics, education, psychology, linguistics ( linguistic atlas, dialect research ), folklore ( informants, oral history ), and in the science of history ( eyewitnesses, technology history, social history ). Interviews are also used in public opinion research and market research in order to obtain an opinion of a larger population ( for example, the population of a region or an entire country ) on specific issues, time issues or products.

A meaning was boosted introduced in the 1920s in the United States by Gallup Institute method, in which - was no longer restricted to sheer mass of the respondents, as representative as possible to the selection of respondents value - unlike before.

  • 3.1 Quantitative Survey
  • 3.2 Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 3.3 Human Resources
  • 3.4 pedagogy

Survey of the social sciences

Criterion for distinguishing the shapes of the survey ( as part of a survey ( empiricism ) ) is mainly the communication medium, while the degree of standardization and structured nature refers mainly to the nature and structure of the questionnaire in addition to the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research. According to the number of threads of a survey, a distinction is special surveys and omnibus surveys.

By type of communication with the respondents, a distinction is personal, telephone, in writing ("self administered " ) and online surveys. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Personal Interview: The personal interview ( face-to -face ) often visited an interviewer to the interviewer and speaks with him (see also Computer Assisted Personal Interview). In some face-to- face interview situations the interviewer meets the interviewer to be elsewhere.
  • Telephone interview:
  • Postal or written survey - self administered survey (eg e- mail): Phone interviews usually take place with a standardized questionnaire.
  • Online survey (WWW): online surveys were suitable until around 2005 mainly to interview members of a special population who have an Internet connection and computer skills (eg, survey of students, university staff, webmasters ).


From representatives of a relational sociology, working with attribute and setting data of the 1950 survey research is criticized to the 1970s. It was like a " sociological meat grinder, tearing the individual from his social environment, thus ensuring that no one interacts within the study with someone else. "

Survey forms other related sciences

  • Psychology and social psychology: In addition to experiments and other observation techniques, the science of psychology continues to work mainly with validated statistically evaluable detailed questionnaires. The social psychology frequently used standardized interviews. Exploratory, open interviews prepare them.
  • In the research detailed scientific biography, interviews document the life histories of certain population groups in order to investigate successful or problematic individual behaviors, mentalities and social developments more closely. Especially in criminology (youth crime, offenders, violence prevention) the urgent need for and relevance of such research is immediately obvious.
  • In gender studies different types of interviews to work out the specific differences in behavior and habit between men and women and different sub- groups of the same.