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Using surveys to conduct research Essay

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using surveys to conduct research?

            Surveys have been used as methods of collecting data for as long as can be remembered.  In practically all scientific fields, surveys have proven invaluable in obtaining data that would otherwise be impossible to gather.  As a method of determining certain behavioral aspects of society and man, surveys have also proven to be beneficial to all research in that field.  Yet as with everything in this world, there will always be advantages and disadvantages.  This short discourse will outline the advantages and disadvantages of using surveys to conduct research.

            First of all, the advantage of having a survey is that it allows the researcher to gather more date in a shorter amount of time.  The questions in a survey are able to address a multitude of issues that would require a researcher more amount of time in lieu of a survey.  Aside from the ability to allow access to more information, surveys can be specifically designed to elicit objective responses.

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This lends to its value in highly quantitative research that deals with hard data instead of non-quantifiable aspects.  In short, surveys are advantageous because they allow the researcher to obtain the information that is required much faster and more efficiently than other sources.

            The problem with surveys, however, is that it is difficult to construct an accurate survey that removes biases or false data.  Surveys are prone to providing the wrong information.  Another problem of surveys lies in the fact that it is not as accurate when gathering qualitative aspects or figures.  Opinions or sentiments are very hard to capture and quantify in surveys.  As such, as a method of conducting research, depending on the subject matter involved, surveys can be very disadvantageous.  Surveys may not always represent the mean of every sample.  Surveys must be given accurately in order to obtain an approximate cross section of the sample used.  The disadvantage, therefore, lies in making an accurate survey that will lead to the correct data.

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