What Type of Data Are Surveys?


Scott Campbell

Surveys are an integral part of data collection. They help researchers gather information and insights from a specific Target audience.

Surveys can be conducted through various mediums such as online forms, phone interviews, or in-person questionnaires. In this article, we will explore what type of data surveys generate and how they can be used to extract valuable information.

The Nature of Survey Data

Survey data can be categorized into two main types: categorical and numerical. Categorical data is qualitative in nature and represents characteristics or attributes. On the other hand, numerical data is quantitative and represents measurable quantities.

Categorical Data

Categorical data is further divided into nominal and ordinal variables.

Nominal Variables

Nominal variables represent categories that do not have an inherent order. For example, the gender of respondents (male or female) or their favorite color (red, blue, green) are nominal variables. These variables are usually represented using labels or names.

Ordinal Variables

Ordinal variables have categories with a specific ordering. For example, a survey might ask respondents to rate their satisfaction level on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being very unsatisfied and 5 being very satisfied). The ordering in this case would be from least satisfied to most satisfied.

Numerical Data

Numerical data can be further classified into discrete and continuous variables.

Discrete Variables

Discrete variables represent counts or whole numbers. Examples include the number of children in a family or the number of pets someone owns. These values cannot take on fractional or decimal values.

Continuous Variables

Continuous variables can take on any value within a specific range. Examples include the height and weight of individuals or the temperature of a room. These values can be fractional or decimal.

Uses of Survey Data

Surveys play a crucial role in various fields, including market research, social sciences, and healthcare.

Market Research

In market research, surveys help companies understand their Target audience’s preferences, buying behavior, and satisfaction levels. This information enables businesses to make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and customer service improvements.

Social Sciences

Surveys are widely used in social sciences to gather data on opinions, attitudes, and behaviors of individuals or groups. This data helps researchers study trends, identify patterns, and draw conclusions about society at large.


In the healthcare field, surveys are used to collect patient feedback on the quality of care received, patient satisfaction levels, and treatment outcomes. This information is invaluable for healthcare providers in improving their services and identifying areas for improvement.


Surveys generate valuable data that can provide insights into various aspects of human behavior and preferences. Understanding the different types of survey data – categorical and numerical – is essential for effective analysis and interpretation. Surveys are powerful tools that enable researchers to gather information from a Targeted audience and make informed decisions based on the collected data.

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