A survey is an investigation into the opinions and/or experiences of a group of people (the target) done by asking them a series of standardized questions (the questionnaire). Surveys are useful for gathering research and ideas on a specific topic. Surveys may be online (through a website) or offline* (paper-based).

Here are a few reasons why teachers and other TEFL workers might need to write surveys:

  • to compile research for a presentation (at a conference, for example)
  • to find data and opinions to support an idea for a TEFL course paper, project, article or blog post
  • to discover how teaching styles and methods are changing (for professional development)
  • to gather research that can be used for ELT materials (publishers/writers/webmasters)
  • to receive feedback and suggestions from students or parents
  • to offer students a model for writing their own surveys

Survey Design

Survey Analysis

What's the difference between a poll and a survey? Essentially, a poll is a "quick survey", answering only one question. A survey can answer more questions in more depth.

* Some offline surveys are conducted in person with a researcher asking the respondent questions and entering their responses. Such survey techniques generally allow for added complexity and it is beyond the scope of these pages to discuss them.