Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Survey research is a method of measurement based on the systematic collection of information from a sample of members of a population. This sample is only a fraction of the population of interest. It represents the whole population by the way it is selected. Conclusions about the total population are reached through a process of statistical inference. Samples can be drawn of anything whose properties can be defined and, therefore, can be made of many types of populations, such as persons, products, institutions, organizations, or events. The most familiar surveys are those taken from persons about their opinions using a structured questionnaire. This entry is mostly about survey research of human populations. In the United States and other English-speaking countries, surveys are also called polls. There is no precise distinction between these terms and there are no significant methodological differences between polls and surveys. The term survey is frequently polls ...