Research Fundamentals: 7 Basic Survey Terms You Need to Know

Research Fundamentals: 7 Basic Survey Terms You Need to Know


As with most industries, there is a lot of special terminology and jargon that gets thrown around, especially when it comes to surveys. Whether you are a seasoned professional looking to brush up your knowledge or just starting out your career in research, here are seven commonly used terms you should know.

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Sample

A “sample” is a small selection of a target population. This selection often represents the general sentiment of the greater population. Within that, you have non-probability sampling and probability sampling. 

Sampling Error

A sampling error is a statistical error that occurs from the natural or exaggerated deviation of a sample from the target population. Sampling errors exist in every type of sampling due to the mere representation of a target population rather than a true, full-sized population. 

Confidence Interval

Also as the “Margin of Error,” the confidence interval is the rate of deviation from the real value of the population, expressed in a percentage. 

Confidence Level

Confidence level is a measurement of certainty that a sample is representative of the population. In other words, confidence level measures the certainty that if the researcher pulled another sample from the population, the results would remain the same.

Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions require the respondent to write their thoughts or sentiments in as many or as few words as they prefer. 

Close-Ended Questions

Close-ended questions have a fixed response; this response can be a simple “yes” or “no,” or the question can contain a set of pre-established answers. 

Scaled Questions

Scaled questions are essentially close-ended questions with the fixed responses in the form of interval scales that measure intensity, frequency or quantity. There are three common forms of scaled questions: Likert, semantic differential and Net Promoter. 

 

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