Survey research has qualitative and quantitative elements, but despite this, it is not considered to be a mixed methodology, in and of itself. The average survey will still have facets of scientific inquiry, however, which relies on hypothesis testing, verification techniques, and quantitative forms of analysis. For example, in a survey format, researchers of a cross section of interests and organizations can be asked what they think about the interstices between a field of given variables, and therefore from the data that is culled from this research, the degree of perceived attitude and belief can be assessed.
Surveys are especially popular in psychological research. The main rationale for this choice is that surveys can give a fairly easy-to-get sample of relevant information from a fairly large sample size, while still being very cost-effective to the researcher and giving quality results. Although surveys have their drawbacks, in terms of false reports, self-report bias, and other issues, such as participants putting down wrong answers on purpose, surveys can shed a lot of light on issues, particularly in a study that seeks to measure attitudes and beliefs in a given population or populations.
“Surveys can be classified by their method of data collection. Mail, telephone interview, and in-person interview surveys are the most common. Extracting data from samples of medical and other records is also frequently done. In newer methods of data collection, information is entered directly into computers” (Research, 2007). Generally the advantages of a self-administered survey are “economy, speed, lack of interviewer bias, and the possibility of anonymity and privacy to encourage more candid responses on sensitive issues” (Research, 2007).
Surveys can also collect a relatively large amount of information for a relatively low price, as mentioned above, and they can help researchers to narrow down their focus through constructive feedback. However, if a survey only has closed questions, there is no opportunity for this feedback. In other words, there are good surveys and bad surveys done experimentally. Qualitative and quantitative survey research designs and sampling plans can exist together, and there does not really have to be one that is better than the other generally.
Sometimes these designs are even used within the same study, but this will most likely not be the case for the assessment measures within a pilot program, which should most likely stick to a quantitative survey with sampling that is as unbiased as possible.
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