Meaning and Characteristics:
Meaning: The survey method primarily focuses on the present. In nursing survey approach is used to a great extent. It is a non-experimental method where the investigator studies a community or a group of people for the purpose of examining the characteristics, opinion, orientations of the population. Data may be gathered by asking questions, by interview, by observing on what people are doing, thinking or feeling. For example, a study was conducted to find the opinion of nurses and patients relatives towards mental illness. Here the survey data were opinions.
Definition: survey is that branch of research that examines the characteristics, attitudes, behaviours and intentions of a group of people by asking individuals to answer questions either through interview or questionnaire. Survey is the most appropriate method of gathering information from a large sample-Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) collected growth data through measurement of height, weight, chest and head circumstances of a large number of children from all parts of India. In order to find out the growth nbrms of Indian children,. it was necessary to collect data from all states covering East, West, South and North of India from urban and rural population.
Survey data were measurement, i.e. height in cm, weight in kg. and circumference in cm. The reader may be familiar with the recent census study where survey approach was used to obtain demographic data. Mostly questioning and interview techniques were used for collecting data in population survey
Characteristics of Survey Survey data can be collected in number of ways. The most common method is questioning. The information is obtained directly from the respondent by face to face interview and self-administered questionnaire. A carefully developed interview schedule or questionnaire is essential. The tool should be reliable and valid. Personal interviews are regarded as the most useful method of collecting survey because of the depth and quality of information can be obtained. A high degree of return is possible in interview as relatively few people refuse to be interviewed. Survey data also can be collected from other techniques like observation and measurement.
To survey, generally information is collected from the sample rather than from every-member of the population. Data obtained from the sample can lead to erroneous conclusions if proper sampling technique is not observed. Biases in the sample selection are to be avoided and size of the sanple should be adequate so that generalization can be done. The population should be heterogeneous on key variables. Whatever variation will occur in population, the same variables should be reflected in the sample. The probability sampling technique is a better method of selection of sample asin this process, each element of the population has equal and independent chance of being selected.