Design surveys that will give the most accurate results.
What does a Survey Methodologist do?
Survey Methodologists are Designers of surveys. That sounds simple enough: They ask a few questions, collect a few answers, tally the results, then call it a day. Right?
Actually, there’s a lot more to it than that. Because they’re scientific instruments, the best surveys aren’t thrown together haphazardly. They’re carefully designed in order to maximize accuracy and efficacy.
As a Survey Methodologist, you’re employed by government agencies, universities, think tanks, and market research companies. You’re a Statistician who creates and conducts surveys, which requires determining survey objectives (what you want to learn), setting survey parameters (how you’re going to learn it), and then analyzing survey data (actually learning it).
To produce a survey that’s both reliable and informative, you must choose the correct type of survey. Are you going to conduct a cross-sectional survey, for instance – which measures the opinions of a population at a single point in time – or a longitudinal survey, which analyzes changes in the opinions of a population over time?
You must also choose the correct survey methods and tools. For example, who will you survey? Will you do a written or verbal survey? And will you conduct the survey in person, over the phone, or online?
The challenges you face as a Survey Methodologist don’t stop there, either. You’ve also got to find out how to get a representative and randomized sample, as well as how to ask questions that get good answers (vocabulary, question format, and response methods all can impact survey data).
Ultimately, you’re a Scientist who designs experiments; instead of the objective natural world, however, you’re analyzing the subjective world of human opinion!