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Online Survey Glossary


Term

Definition

See related topics:

Attitudinal behavior

Behavior associated with respondent attitudes. Personal interview surveys are best for observing these types of behaviors, which typically include non-verbal expression.

Attitudinal objects, social research

Attitudinal objects

Objects within a survey question. Example: Do you think teachers should have more contact with parents? The attitudinal object is "parents"

Attitudinal behavior, social research

Baseline

A measurement or calculation used as a basis for comparison against survey results.

Target population, sample

Categorical question

A type of closed-ended question that allows respondents to place themselves into exactly one category. Eases data analysis according to specific demographic attributes.

Closed-ended question, open-ended question

CATI

CATI is an acronym that stands for computer-assisted telephone interviewing. Used in telephone surveys, this system allows for automation of participant responses as they move through the survey (e.g., skip a question), and rapid data analysis.

Survey software, telephone survey

Closed-ended question

A type of survey question that has a finite set of answers predetermined by the researcher from which the respondent chooses. Easy to standardize; lend themselves to statistical analysis.

Multiple-choice question, categorical question, likert-scale question, numerical question, ordinal question, open-ended question

Confirmatory research

A type of research that is performed to "confirm" an assumption or theory. Involves testing against a hypothesis or specific assumptions.

Exploratory research, closed-ended question, open-ended question

Double negative question

A type of question that asks for level of respondent agreement with a statement, typically using the word "not". Example: Teachers should not be required to supervise students during recess. If respondent disagrees = do not think teachers should not supervise students — in other words, they should supervise students.

Double-barreled question, leading question, loaded question

Double-barreled question

A type of question that asks about more than one issue in a single question. This may result in inaccuracies in the attitudes being measured for the question.

Attitudinal objects, leading question, loaded question

Exhaustive categories

Categories are exhaustive when there is a category available to all potential respondents.

Mutually exclusive categories, categorical question, closed-ended question

Exploratory research

A type of research that is performed to "explore" survey participant response to the survey topic. Exploratory research is typically performed when the researcher does not have a hypothesis or does not have specific assumptions concerning the survey problem.

Confirmatory research, open-ended question

Interviewer bias

A type of bias that results when person being interviewed may not like the interviewer for various reasons. This most often occurs in personal interview surveys.

Sample bias, personal interview survey

Leading question

A type of question that is phrased in such a way that suggests to the respondent that the researcher expects a certain answer (i.e., it "leads" the respondent).

Loaded question, loaded word

Likert-scale question

A type of closed-ended question that allows respondents to indicate how closely their feelings match the question or statement on a rating scale. Good for measuring the degree of respondents' feelings or attitudes about something.

Rating scale question, closed-ended question

Loaded question

A type of question that contains "loaded words."

Leading question, loaded word

Loaded word

A word that carries unintented connotations. Example: Politicians avoid the use of the loaded word "environmentalist" because it may carry negative connotations for some people, regardless of the content of the statement.

Leading question, loaded question

Mail survey

A type of survey methodology used to deliver data results of the survey. Advantages include: use for social research, low interviewer bias.

Telephone survey, web survey, personal interview survey

Multiple-choice question

A type of closed-ended question that allows respondents to pick the best possible answer (as it pertains to their opinion) from among all possible options. Good for "profiling" respondents.

Closed-ended question

Mutually exclusive categories

Categories are mutually exclusive when there is no overlap.

Exhaustive categories

Non-representative sample

This type of sample results when the respondents from the location where the interviewing takes place does not match the desired target population.

Sample, target population

Numerical question

A type of closed-ended question that allows respondents to pick a number. Example: What is your current age?

Ordinal question, categorical question

Open-ended question

A type of survey question to which there is not one definite answer. Allows respondents to answer in their own words. Used in exploratory research.

Closed-ended question

Ordinal question

A type of closed-ended question that allows respondents to rank order their answers to a question. Good for determining priorities; preferences of respondents.

Closed-ended question, numerical question

Personal interview survey

A type of survey methodology used to deliver data results of the survey. Advantages include: use to measure attitudinal behavior, longer interviews tolerated.

Mail survey, web survey, telephone survey

Probe

To ask clarifying and in-depth questions of the respondent concerning survey responses.

respondent, qualitative research

Profiling

A method by which the researcher categorizes respondents based on their survey responses.

respondent, target population, sample

Qualitative research

A type of research relying primarily on the collection of qualitative data (i.e., non-numerical data such as words and pictures)

Quantitative research, open-ended question

Quantitative research

A type of research relying primarily on the collection of quantitative data (i.e., numerical data)

Qualitative research, closed-ended question

Respondent

A person who is providing responses to your survey.

Sample, target population

Response set

A tendency for a respondent to answer a series of question in a certain direction regardless of their content.

Sample bias

Sample

A sub-group of selected respondents derived from your target population.

Sample bias, target population

Sample bias

This type of bias may result if you limit your sample to only respondents within a certain demographic group, e.g., highly educated. If your survey goal is to measure the opinions of the general population, this could bias your sample.

Sample, target population, interviewer bias

Sample population

Syn. Target Population

Sample, target population

Social research

This type of research is often conducted when you need to measure widespread opinions of the general population.

Attitudinal behavior, sample, target population

Survey goals

The specific goals or objectives associated with your survey problem. Example: Our goal is to measure consumer interest in our new product.

Survey problem, survey design

Survey methodology

The type of delivery method associated with your survey, e.g., Web survey, telephone survey, mail survey, personal interview survey.

Web survey, telephone survey, mail survey, personal interview survey

Survey problem

The specific problem you want to address by administering a survey. Example: We do not currently know whether consumers are interested in our new product.

Survey goals, survey design, survey methodology

Survey software

Software that is developed for Web survey and telephone survey methodologies. These types of software provide automation of data gathering, and significantly ease statistical analysis efforts.

Web survey, CATI

Target population

The entire group of possible respondents to your survey question. Since it is improbable you will survey every individual in your target population, you must survey a smaller sub-group of your population, known as a sample.

Sample,respondent, non-representative sample, universe

Telephone survey

A type of survey methodology used to deliver data results of the survey. Advantages include: broad reach to potential respondents, interviewers can ask clarifying questions.

Mail survey, web survey, personal interview survey

Universe

Syn. A sample of respondents.

Sample, target population

Web survey

A type of survey methodology used to deliver data results of the survey. Advantages include rapid response rate, very inexpensive, and increased respondent flexibility.

Survey software, telephone survey, mail survey, personal interview survey

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