Different modes of conducting surveys

person marking check on opened book

Surveys are a great way to gather data for a particular goal: research, customer feedback, employee feedback, or something else. Traditionally, surveys were conducted primarily via phone or face to face. However, the advent of technology has opened various avenues for conducting surveys. Now surveys can be conducted online, via computer-assisted techniques, automated software, etc. Let us take a look at the major modes in which surveys can be implemented.


Online surveys generally involve creating questionnaires using survey software and then delivering them to the target audience either via email, text message, or social media channels for them to complete. The gathered data is then stored in a central database. Online surveys are a great way to gather data as respondents can fill them at their convenience.


Offline Surveys involve framing a questionnaire and asking people to fill it up. They can also be conducted in the form of face-to-face interviews. Sometimes, they are implemented in the form of questionnaires at public places like parks, cafes, bus stations since the number of people at these places is significantly more significant, increasing the probability of getting a response. This mode is handy in areas where internet connectivity is unstable or non-existent. Specific survey software provides apps that have functionality by which surveys can be implemented offline, and data gathered can be uploaded to the database later when connectivity is available.


Telephony is the traditional channel wherein surveys are conducted directly via telephone by an agent. There is also another option of IVR Survey – Interactive Voice Response wherein an automated voice asks questions to respondents, who then answer via voice or keypad. Most of the customer feedback surveys are conducted via this channel. IVR can sometimes irritate respondents but, when designed well, end up saving a lot of time by taking initial responses and routing calls to appropriate agents. This is one of the most popular modes of surveys as respondents require access only to a telephone.


CATI stands for Computer Assisted Telephonic Interviews. It is a combination of telephonic surveys and computerized surveys. In CATI surveys, interviews conducted via telephone are guided using a questionnaire which is displayed on a computer screen. The agent uses a keyboard and mouse to record answers that are given by the people taking the survey and match them with the pre-coded responses listed on the screen. The CATI software is responsible for handling all the intricate survey logics and questionnaire routing. CATI interviews have been a popular method for conducting research and can effectively generate data for researchers. With CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) survey, researchers can cater to a wide range of audiences, as their target audience needs to have access only to a phone, be it mobile or landline.