The most popular form of quantitative sociological research is the questionnaire survey. A well-prepared questionnaire enables researchers to obtain answers to most of the questions and provide high-quality data for analysis. There are two main types of questionnaire survey: personal interviews using Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and Paper-Assisted Personal Interviewing (PAPI). Currently, questionnaire surveys are in high demand for sociological, marketing, and political research.
With the advancement of modern technology, various new survey methods have emerged, including online surveys. These methods are less expensive than traditional face-to-face street surveys, but the accuracy of the obtained data may be compromised due to the difficulty in selecting a representative sample.
Sample for a questionnaire
When compiling a sample for a face-to-face questionnaire, the statistical data of the general population in the area where the survey will be conducted is used as the basis. To obtain objective information, it is ideal to interview 2.5% of the population. For example, in a city with a population of 1 million, 25,000 respondents should be interviewed for completely objective data.
In large-scale questionnaire surveys in cities with a population of a million or more, or across the country, a multi-stage sex-age quota sample is used. This method allows obtaining the necessary results with a small error of 2 to 5%, with a minimum number of respondents.
According to the experience of the Center for Applied Research, it is sufficient to interview 2100 respondents to obtain reliable information in cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, or Odessa, and for the entire territory of Ukraine. It is essential to consider the geographical factor and cover all types of settlements, not just large cities, to ensure that the survey results are representative. A sampling error of no more than 3% is typical in these surveys, and additional criteria such as professional, geographical, linguistic, national, etc. can be used to target a narrower specific audience.
Drawing up the correct sample for internet or telephone surveys is very challenging, as the characteristics of the general population of respondents, such as their gender, age, and others, are not precisely known. These types of surveys are useful in marketing research, where a customer database is available to obtain feedback and necessary information about customers and potential customers.
The Center for Applied Research has developed an approach that enables online surveys to identify similar audiences, determine their preferences and behavioral characteristics, and use the results for marketing and political campaigns. For example, by conducting a survey and analyzing users of the social network Facebook in a specific location (city, district, region, country), the “Center for Applied Research” can identify potential supporters and opponents of a particular candidate, political party, firm, or brand, and develop strategies to engage with them.
Questionnaire for a sociological or marketing survey
Creating a questionnaire for a sociological or marketing survey involves several steps: defining the research objectives, selecting the target audience, choosing the appropriate questions and response options, and testing the questionnaire to ensure its reliability and validity.
Compiling a questionnaire for a sociological or marketing survey is a critical aspect of the survey process. Questionnaires come in various types and have different question formats, such as open and closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions allow respondents to provide their own answers, while closed-ended questions provide specific answer options. However, closed-ended questions may also include an “other” option, which is an open-ended question.
In sociological research, it is crucial to minimize subjective factors and avoid imposing one’s opinions on the respondent. Some questionnaire surveys manipulate public opinion by emphasizing the desired candidate’s name, using a larger font size, or omitting undesirable candidates from answer options. Incorrectly worded answer options or questions can also skew results in favor of the customer. During pre-election periods, there are many instances of such manipulation in Ukraine, making it essential to scrutinize the customer, methodology, and reputation of the sociological agency before relying on survey results.
Sometimes, sociological surveys are used for advertising or campaigning purposes, and interviewers may push their views or campaign openly. Such actions are not genuine sociological surveys, as neutrality is a fundamental principle of the interviewer. A professional sociological survey relies on a properly crafted questionnaire, a precisely determined sample, an experienced interviewer, stringent field control, comprehensive processing of research data, and an analytical report with recommendations.
A well-designed questionnaire can serve various purposes, including determining a candidate’s or party’s rating, profiling potential voters or buyers, evaluating brand/product recognition, identifying communication channels, identifying respondents’ primary issues and potential solutions, assessing respondents’ attitudes towards a personality, product, or phenomenon, and more. Customer surveys can also help uncover their needs for a new product, evaluate store, product, or service quality. Employee surveys reveal the staff’s true sentiments towards the company, colleagues, and motivation, exposing hidden dissatisfaction that employees may not express to management.
Questionnaire surveys are applied across various areas, from politics to marketing. The key to a high-quality survey is the professionalism and impartiality of sociologists, ensuring reliable data and effective guidance for the customer to resolve their issues.
Polling in conflict zones
Polling in conflict zones presents unique challenges and requires specialized skills from survey organizers. These types of surveys involve gathering information from respondents who are often hostile or aggressive towards the customer or the survey topic.
To obtain accurate and reliable information from conflict surveys, organizers must take special precautions and possess the necessary skills to navigate the unique challenges presented by such surveys.
One example of a conflict survey is the sociological study commissioned by Shell in Ukraine, titled “Attitude of the population towards the exploration, development and production of unconventional gas in the Donetsk region,” which was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in 2013 and 2015. The study was met with extreme negativity and aggression from the local population due to the prospect of shale gas production on their territory. The situation was further complicated in 2015 by the ongoing Russian aggression in the east of Ukraine, with fighting occurring in close proximity to the survey sites.
Since February 24, 2022, start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine the Center for Applied Research conducts regular surveys in the frontline zone.
To order the survey, please complete a research brief