Glossary of Statistical Terms: Definition Survey

The survey is one of the most common methods of collecting data. The person is interviewed based on a questionnaire. Surveys can be carried out via telephone or in writing (increasingly occurring on the internet). Respondents give their own estimates in all cases.

During interviews, errors can occur when people assess their own behaviour as wrong. A typical example is the duration of daily TV consumption: respondents often ignore how often the TV runs “on the side”. Therefore, the survey will bring less accurate results than observations and experiments in this instance. The effect of social desirability bias forms an example of measurable recurrent deviations in a survey.

Please note that the definitions in our statistics encyclopedia are simplified explanations of terms. Our goal is to make the definitions accessible for a broad audience; thus it is possible that some definitions do not adhere entirely to scientific standards.

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