What Is a Survey? When Do You Use One?

A Survey is a system for collecting information from or about people to describe, compare, or explain their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. The survey system is comprised of seven activities. These include setting objectives for information collection, designing the study, preparing a reliable and valid survey instrument, administering the survey, managing and analyzing survey data, and reporting the results. The survey system should operate in an ethical manner and have sufficient resources to achieve its objectives. Surveyors can collect information directly, by asking people to answer questions, or indirectly, by reviewing written, oral, and visual records of people's thoughts and actions. Surveyors can also obtain data by observing people in natural or experimental settings. Surveys are taken regarding political and consumer choices, use of health services, numbers of people in the labor force, and opinions on just about everything from aardvarks to zyzzyvas. Individuals, communities, schools, businesses, and researchers use ...

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