Wednesday 24 November 2010

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Questionnaires & Surveys

Surveys are normally used for statistical purposes by gathering information. Most surveys use questionnaires for a base of their research. Surveys can help decide what needs changing, where money should be spent, what products to purchase, what problems there might be, or lots of other questions you may have at any time.

Surveys can be useful in some cases when the questions asked are specific and if the questions asked affect them. Sometimes surveys and questionnaires are not taken seriously leading the participant to write anything to make it less time consuming. If the survey/questionnaire is very long most people decide to ignore it which would make it useless.

Advantages of a Survey

  • Surveys can be inexpensive especially if they are self administrated.
  • They can be used sent to different locations by using mail, email or telephone.
  • You can ask many questions over a given topic
  • It is an effective way to get opinions of a large number of people.

Disadvantages of a Survey

  • Structured surveys normally use closed ended questions which makes opinions limited.
  • Can be time consuming and hard to structure at times.
  • If it is an anonymous survey people may not give a valid answer.
  • The researcher must ensure that a large number of the selected sample will reply.

Advantages of a Questionnaire

  • Very cost effective compared to face to face interviews
  • Very familiar with people almost everyone has completed one so no guidance needed.
  • They can be completed easily and quickly
  • They should be simple and quick for the respondent to complete


  • Some people may not be willing to answer the questions. They might not wish to reveal the information or they might think that they will not benefit from responding perhaps even be penalised by giving their real opinion.
  • Questionnaires also invite people to lie and answer the questions very vaguely which they would not do in an interview.
  • You forget to ask a question, you cannot usually go back to respondents, especially if they are anonymous


Paul Barribeau, Bonnie Butler, Jeff Corney, Megan Doney, Jennifer Gault, Jane Gordon, Randy Fetzer, Allyson Klein, Cathy Ackerson Rogers, Irene F. Stein, Carroll Steiner, Heather Urschel, Theresa Waggoner, and Mike Palmquist. (2005). Survey Research.Writing@CSU. Colorado State University Department of English. Retrieved [November, 20th 2010] from

Milne, John (1999). Questionnaires: Advantages and Disadvantages, Centre for CBL in Land Use and Environmental Sciences, Aberdeen University, Retrieved [November, 20th 2010] from


  1. I think the way you have outlined the advantages and disadvantages is brilliant. The fact that you split the advantages and disadvantages into different sections for both the surveys and questionnaires made the post extremely easy to follow and allowed me to find the information I needed at ease. You also included many different points which make the post very informative and useful when looking at the advantages and disadvantages of surveys and questionnaires.

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    where the information is brief and communicative

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