Difference between Survey and Questionnaire

To different observers, a questionnaire and a survey look exactly the same. But, they are two literally different study tools.


Basically it is a procedure that is within the design of a descriptive investigation. Its purpose is to collect data through a questionnaire already designed without modifying the environment or the phenomenon on which information is collected. The data is obtained through a set of standardized questions that are addressed to a representative sample or to the entire statistical population under study.

In general, it goes to people, companies or institutions in order to find out opinions, ideas, characteristics or facts. There are several types of surveys:

Depending on your goals

  • Descriptive surveys.
  • Analytical surveys.

according to the questions

  • Open response.
  • Closed response.

Depending on the means of capture

  • Paper and pencil (PAPI).
  • Telephone interviews (CATI: computer-assisted telephone interview).
  • The Web (CAWI: computer-assisted web interview).
  • Mobile devices (CAPI: computer-assisted personal interview).


It is a research instrument that has a series of questions or a series of indications to obtain information. They are designed to obtain a statistical analysis of the responses, but this is not always the case. It is a document made up of a set of questions written coherently and organized, sequenced and structured following a plan to obtain all the information. Questionnaires have a key advantage over some types of surveys because they don’t require too much effort on the part of the respondent.

Types of questionnaires

They are divided into questionnaires that measure separate variables and questionnaires with questions added with a scale or index. The former are part of surveys, the latter are tests.

Differences between survey and questionnaire

  • A survey is a procedure where information is collected. It is part of the design of a descriptive investigation.
  • A questionnaire is a research instrument with a series of carefully organized questions for the purpose of statistical analysis of the responses. It is part of a survey.

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