Difference Between Poll and Survey

There are several methods of data collection in research. Research plays a vital role in the market and academia. There are different types of data processing systems for various kinds of data.


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The data collection method can be picked depending on the nature of the data (quantitative or qualitative), sample size, and other factors.

Among the various categories of data collection, polls and surveys are the most frequently used methods in market research. They offer easy analysis and operation options.

Key Takeaways

  1. A poll is a type of survey that gathers opinions or preferences from a sample of respondents by asking one or more specific questions. In contrast, a survey is a broader research method that collects data from a sample of individuals through a series of questions or statements.
  2. Polls are often used to gauge public opinion on a particular topic or issue quickly. At the same time, surveys can cover a wide range of topics and provide more in-depth information about respondents’ opinions, experiences, or behaviors.
  3. Both polls and surveys are valuable tools for gathering information and understanding different populations, but their scope and purposes can vary significantly.

Poll vs. Survey

The difference between a poll and a survey is that a poll is one single multiple-choice question, while a survey includes multiple questions that can be objective and subjective.

Poll vs Survey

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPollSurvey
QuestionsConsist of a single question, usually a multiple-choice questionSurveys have multiple questions that are typically a combination of both subjective and objective questions.
TimeSince it’s just one question, it usually does not take much timeThe time taken by respondents to fill up a survey may vary depending upon the number of questions. They are usually more elaborate.
InformationRespondents are rarely asked to give out their details.Surveys often require details of the respondents to know more about the data that has been collected.
PurposeTo get an overview of what people take from an event or an experience.To understand in-depth things such as customer satisfaction, feedback, etc.
Type of decisionPolls are usually simple, unidimensional decisionsSurveys require feedback on multiple dimensions.


What is Poll?

A poll is a question asked from s set sample size to know people’s preferred options.

The questions asked in a poll can be both multiple-choice and open-ended. It is a system to know and understand people’s choices.

The methodology of conducting polls has evolved significantly over time. Initially, poles were conducted in person, where people were asked questions, and responses were recorded on the show of hands.

Later telephonic polls and polls via SMS became very common.

In the current times, however, polls are usually done online. Respondents can submit their answers with a single click. Online polls allow the poll designer to design the vote per their requirements.

Companies extensively use polls to understand what their customers want. A company that knows the likes and dislikes of its customers can surely do better.

Since a poll is just one question, it can provide limited insight, so votes must be used judiciously.

Polls usually have a considerable sample size. It gives a comparative overview of the choices of the population in question.

Since the outcome data of polls is not elaborate, the processing and analysis that can be done through this data are also limited.

A prevalent form of Poll is the election poll. Such polls are used to understand which political party or candidate is more popular or are likely to win in the elections.


What is Survey?

The survey data collection method is done to generalize the results over a relatively more significant population.

Data collected using the survey method is critical in business and academic research.

It is a more elaborate data collection form, providing detailed insights and information. A survey usually has more than one question, which can be subjective and objective.

Surveys can be divided into four categories depending on the methodology adopted. They can be face-to-face, telephonic, self-administered, or online.

This method has been recognized as an ideal method for in-depth data collection.

Online surveys have made pen-and-paper surveys obsolete since the cost of administering an online survey is way less.

The critical rule while using a survey is to design it correctly. A survey must ask the right questions in the correct format. One must ensure that redundancy is eliminated.

Additionally, a survey must be distributed through the proper channels to ensure that the right kind of responses is recorded.

Surveys are extensively used to collect customer feedback about events and products.

Since surveys are often longer, convincing customers to fill out such forms isn’t easy. It is essential to design a relatively short survey. Some companies offer incentives for filling out survey forms.


Main Differences Between Poll and Survey

  1. A poll is a question circulated to understand people’s relative preferences, while a survey is an elaborate data collection method with multiple queries.
  2. Naturally, the time to fill out a poll is less than a survey.
  3. Polls record responses; however, the respondent’s personal information is rarely required. Whereas surveys often require the intimate knowledge of the respondent.
  4. A poll focuses on understanding the sample’s relative preference, while a survey focuses on multiple dimensions.
  5. Responses to a poll are usually based on simple and quick decisions, while a survey requires in-depth analysis.
Difference Between Poll and Survey

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2747357
  2. https://academic.oup.com/alcalc/article-abstract/39/6/532/211277
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