|Module 1: Producing Data
3. Sources of data > 3.2 Generating your own data > 3.2.2. Generating data from observations
ii. The features of a good survey
A good survey design requires three important steps.
Step 1: Identify the exact purpose of the survey
Identifying and describing the primary objective of the survey provides a focus for asking more detailed questions about specific topics that relate to the primary objective. This helps you to structure the survey and to decide appropriate ways of collecting information by sampling the population. Possible ways of collecting information include postal questionnaires, telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews, and so on.
Step 2: Specify the population on which the survey will focus
When deciding the criteria to specify the population, you need to be sure that this is the population that you really want to survey. For example, if you wanted to investigate where university students eat on campus, should the population include students who are studying remotely? Most likely not, due to the time and effort involved in getting a response from people who most likely never eat on campus. Also, the way you identify the population influences the decisions that you make about sampling and resources.
Step 3: Identify the resources available
The availability of resources such as time and finances can influence the type of sampling methods used and the size of the samples used.