The characteristics of survey

The characteristics of survey

A survey is a statistical survey method of collecting samples from a test case with the aim of gathering information from the analysis and study of these samples. The efficiency and success of any survey is largely determined by factors within and out of the survey team’s environment. Internal factors affecting survey normally entail the scope of the project, planning and personal schedule of the surveyor. External factors involve how the surveyor interacts with survey materials, subjects, and local policies affecting the survey and the external (Bedsted, 1989 p. 56). The whole purpose of conducting a survey is therefore to retrieve meaningful information once the raw survey data has been proceed. This information can then be used in decision making from a more factual standpoint. This discourse examines surveys and the characteristics of survey.

To conduct a proper survey, various factors are taken into consideration. These can be internal factors influencing the survey directly, or external secondary factor affecting the survey. An internal factor affecting any survey, which may make a survey project bad, is the source of content for the survey (Bedsted, 1989 p.8). These can be primary sources or secondary sources. Primary survey sources may be artifacts, documents like letters, or other sources of information created during the period. If a survey uses primary sources, does this make it more accurate and perfect? Again, context is important. If a letter to home written by a Union Soldier during the Siege of Vicksburg is taken as a primary source for survey, it will have a completely different perspective than a diary of a Southern wife suffering from the Union bombardment. While both may be used for the survey and can accurately portray what each person went through, neither contains the whole picture. A secondary source taken for survey may also not bring a well-rounded perspective since it can take into account both sides, but may be biased (Richardus 1966, p. 78). Secondary sources taken for survey are subject to certain influences that may threaten their credibility and validity (Bedsted 1989, p. 75). If used for survey, these sources may have discrepancies and thus ultimately making the whole survey bad.

A good example of a survey done and conducted effectively is a survey conducted by Noam Chomsky’s on the theory of Universal Grammar. The survey was conducted to prove that grammar is universal (Chomsky 1969, p. 76). Noam conducted the survey on various sample cases in language and grammar and says that recursion is the corner stone of every language that is spoken on this earth. The survey was conducted on various languages from diverse cultures mostly through sampling, questionnaires and personal interviews. He concluded his survey and was able to form a strong thesis after analysis of his survey results.

Sampling, questionnaires and interviews form the basis of a good survey. While using them as individual survey techniques may not yield the best results, integrating them gives conclusions that are more reliable. Apart from survey sources, correct analysis techniques form a clear distinction in what qualifies as a good or bad survey (Richardus 1967, p. 7). The surveyor must use credible and reliable analytical techniques in order to come up with conclusive information. In order to conduct a proper survey, an individual should ensure that they carefully scrutinize and analyze the desired information and filter it so that it can be used to produce authentic and credible results (Richardus 1966, p. 90). This is where most surveyors fail since they rush into the field and begin collecting information without a proper background check during pre-survey.

In conclusion, survey plays a very critical role in information retrieval and analysis. It is through conducting surveys that researchers are able to form strong theses that are credible and have the correct information to defend with. The elements described above together contribute to a good survey.


Bedsted Andersen, O. (1989), Modern Techniques in Geodesy and Surveying: Lecture Notes For Nordiska Forskarkurser 18/1988. København, Danmark, Nkg.

Chomsky, N. (1969), Current Issues In Linguistic Theory. Hague, Mouton. HYPERLINK “” Http://Site.Ebrary.Com/Id/10598432.

Richardus, P. (1966), Project Surveying; General Adjustment And Optimization Techniques With Applications To Engineering Surveying. North-Holland, Amsterdam.