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November 29, 2014 / C H Thompson

Social survey

Survey’s are used to collect primary data from large numbers of people in a standardised statistical form (when questions are standardised it means everyone is asked the same set of questions) in order to make generalisationssocial-survey about the population as a whole. Postal questionnaires are a common form of social survey.

The emphasis on standardisation shows how social surveys are driven by positivist principles through the use of pre-coded questionnaires or structured interviews (occasionally there are open or free choice questions).

As the aim of any survey is to form a conclusion or conclusion (generalisations) it is important that a sample is chosen which is representative (known as a representative sample) of the population or group (known as survey population) being studied.


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