Survey: Telephonic Survey, Mail, E-mail, Internet Survey, Social Media and Media Listening

30/01/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Telephonic Survey

A telephone survey is one of the survey methods used in collecting data either from the general population or from a specific target population. Telephone numbers are utilized by trained interviewers to contact and gather information from possible respondents.

The telephone survey approach is usually utilized when there is a need to collection information via public opinion polling. In other words, phone surveys are ideal for data gathering which takes anyone from the general population as potential.

Advantages of phone-based interviewing

There are several reasons why researchers choose CATI interview methodology over other survey methodologies. Here are just a few:

  • Research can be gathered quickly because phone interviews are immediate and skilled interviewers can complete a lot of surveys in a day of work.
  • Most people have telephones, so you have an ample audience for gathering a representative sample to complete the survey.
  • A telephone interview has a personal touch, so it can lead to valuable brand-building benefits if the interviewer surveys in a professional and skilled way.
  • Telephone interviews can be cost-effective as you can have a higher response rate than web surveys, for example.

Disadvantages of a phone survey

  • Sometimes telephone calls are perceived as telemarketing and thus negatively received by potential respondents. This might influence your response rate.
  • It can be challenging to design an effective phone survey because the questions need to be short and precise for easy comprehension.
  • Timing must be carefully considered. The administrators and supervisors should monitor both the time of the call and the length of the actual interview.


A mail survey is one in which the postal service, or another mail delivery service, is used to mail the survey materials to sampled survey addresses. What is mailed usually consists of a cover letter, the survey questionnaire, and other materials, such as a postage-paid return envelope, an informational brochure to help legitimize the survey organization, detailed instructions about how to participate in the survey, and/or a noncontingent cash incentive.

Applicability of Mail Surveys

  • The survey’s participants are likely to be concerned or interested in the goals of the research, e.g. improving the quality of the brand.
  • You know or have access to the complete name and home address of the members of your target population.
  • Since it is more challenging to complete a written survey than a verbal survey, your respondents must be able to read and write well. It is also ideal if their educational level is above average.
  • The survey does not have time constraints. Sending and receiving a mail survey can be a month-long process.
  • Instructions in the questionnaire can be easily followed and the questions are simple and can be understood without difficulty.

Advantages of a Mail Survey

  • Administration: For those who will administer and supervise the mail survey, not much of an experience are needed. This type of survey does not oblige the authority to make decisions during high-pressure scenarios. For researchers, they are permitted to curtail sampling errors. They also have the jurisdiction of what the respondents can see on the questionnaire, unlike online surveys where software compatibilities and technical issues are factors on how the survey will be displayed.
  • Convenience: Mail surveys provide convenience to respondents for they can answer the questionnaires at their own pace. Survey participants have the liberty to use as much time needed when answering the survey, which will result to more comprehensive and thorough responses. They can also answer the questionnaire anywhere they want to, as long as they have survey instrument.
  • Honesty: Research shows that participants of a survey give more honest answers compared with other data collection methods. This is because respondents are more comfortable giving their views or opinions through writing.
  • Geographical stratification: A mail survey can specifically target different segments of the population.
  • Cost: Mail surveys need not much of manpower. A man alone can administer the entire survey process. Compared with telephone surveys and face-to-face interviews, the cost in conducting a mail survey is relatively cheaper. This type of survey is optimal of there are large sample size involved. Let us say that the participants are around 40,000. Mailing them is cost-effective than calling them one by one. On estimate, a typical medium-scale mail survey can cost at least $5,000. On the contrary, a telephone survey or a face-to-face interview requires double or triple of your budget for a mail survey.

Disadvantages of a Mail Survey

  • Coverage errors and Response Rates: A mail survey usually generates 3-15% response rate. Having said that, it is not the primary drawback of engaging in this type of survey. The real problem is how to obtain a reliable and complete list of participants from the target population. When failed to do so, this will result to coverage errors. Examples are incomplete mailing lists e.g. excluding members of the family that are temporarily away like college students. Biased results and outdated information are also included in coverage errors.
  • Questionnaire design: Since mail surveys do not offer the opportunity for follow-ups, the questionnaire design can make or break the survey. Questions must be brief, straightforward and accurate.
  • Respondents: Mail surveys are unseemly ineffectual for very young children, disabled or sick persons, to those with language barriers, and marginally literate or illiterate.
  • Administration: Researchers have no control as to whether or not the survey has been completely answered or what will happen to the questionnaire after being mailed.


Internet Survey

Over the past decade, the use of online and mobile research methods like online surveys has skyrocketed.  Thanks to technological advances, you can now conduct research for a fraction of the cost and time. This makes collecting data easier than ever and better for everyone.


Real-time Access

Respondents’ answers store automatically so you get results at your fingertips in no time. This turns analyzing your results into effortless and immediate action.

Increaed Response Rate

The low cost and overall convenience of online surveys bring in a high response. Respondents get to answer questions on their own schedule at a pace they choose.

Design Flexibility

Surveys can be programmed even if they’re very complex.  Intricate skip patterns and logic can be employed seamlessly.  You can create the layout, questions, and answer choices with no hassle.

Low Cost

Collecting data doesn’t have to break the bank anymore.  There are plenty of websites and platforms that make creating your survey fast and affordable.


Respondents answer questions on their own schedule and can even have flexibility with completion time.

Rapid deployment and return times are possible with online surveys that don’t use traditional methods.  And, if you have bad contact information for some respondents, you’ll know it almost immediately.

No Interviewer

Since respondents are not disclosing their answers directly to another person, it is easier for them to open up. Interviewers can also influence responses in some cases.


No Volunteer

The lack of a trained interviewer to clarify and probe can lead to less reliable data.

Possible Cooperation Problems

Online surveys could be deleted and ignored. People hate feeling poked and if they get annoyed, they just have to click delete.

Limited Sampling and Respondent Availability

Certain populations are less likely to have internet access and to respond to online questionnaires. Drawing samples is harder based on email addresses or website visitations.


This is the biggest challenge. If your survey is long and/or confusing you might get fake answers. Since there is less accountability, the chances for people just hitting buttons to finish are high. Check the questions you use carefully.

People often take surveys because they’re promised a reward at the end, resulting in them not accurately contributing to your study.

Social Media and Media Listening


Unfiltered opinions: Social listening allows you to be the fly on the wall. With social listening, you can gather consumers’ uninfluenced thoughts and opinions. These thoughts and opinions may be less filtered than what they would share in a survey or interview response, making them more authentic.

Travel back in time: Most social mention tools will store and provide access to data for about 24-30 months. Some tools have the ability to go back even further but at an additional cost. This means that if you start a trending program to compare current conversations to past conversations, you can begin analyzing the information right away and don’t have to wait for multiple data collection periods.

Possibilities within other forms of media: Social listening isn’t limited to text. Images, videos, and emojis often help us better understand what consumers are thinking, saying, and doing better than a more traditional research method would allow. That rich media backed up by commentary text allows us to pick up on key terminology and understand how to communicate back to consumers using their own words.


No guarantees: The nature of social listening is much different from traditional research, where you ask a question to prompt an answer. There are no guarantees with social listening, and you never know what you will (or will not) find. However, if your area of interest is something included in the broad range of topics discussed online, you should be able to uncover useful information, even if it wasn’t the information you initially anticipated finding.

Social listening insights don’t always stand alone. They often work best as a complement to other information or research. However, social listening can add a unique dimension to traditional research, sometimes uncovering the motivation behind behaviors and shedding light on how to move forward.