Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Data restriction in Surveys/Questionnaires

A popular method of colleting Quantitative data is surveys/questionnaires. Quantitative data is collected data in a form which focuses on numbers and frequencies rather than meaning and experience. Surveys and questionnaires are effective, reliable and appropriate ways of collecting quantitative data, especially numerical form data. As most surveys consist of ‘closed questions’, results lack true opinions and in depth description. So surveys/questionnaires are poor methods in collecting Qualitative data (collecting data which is associated with describing meaning, rather than collecting statistical data). Although on the upside Questionnaires can include some open questions, so in situations where only a small research sample in necessary, questionnaires can be good for collecting both Quantitative and Qualitative Data.

Joseph Samura


  1. I think it is also important when looking at data restrictions in surveys/questionnaires to take into account the data protection act. The data protection act limits what can and can’t be asked in questionnaires; it also states how the information that is collected can be used and how it has to be protected. This is outlined from the quote below:
    “When collecting personal data make sure that people know:
    a) who you are
    b) what the data will be used for
    c) to whom it will be disclosed
    This information can often be provided on an application form or similar. It is equally important NOT to collect more personal data than is actually needed.”

  2. I think that the main reason that many companies would use closed-questions as opposed to open-questions is that it is much faster and cheaper for the company to analyse quantitative data that it is qualitative data. This is because the numerical values of each answer can be used to quickly calculate averages, standard deviation and many more useful statistics that an analyst could then make sense of.

  3. I agree with both of you. Also, as well as legally you need to consider how people would feel answering certain questions. If you ask questions on a sensitive subject or a personal question, you may get a fake answer or make the user feel uncomfortable.