When Is a Survey Appropriate?
Survey Pro's and Con's
Surveys are familiar to most people and they can be readily implemented with tools and software that are widely available. There are a variety of considerations when determining whether conducting a survey is a good choice for evaluating the impact of a specific IPM program.
Some Advantages of Conducting a Survey
- Efficiently collects information from a large group of people
- Relatively easy to implement
- Creates a record of respondents' input
- If designed well, data can be easily aggregated and summarized
Some Disadvantages of Conducting a Survey
- It may be difficult to obtain an adequate response rate (one that accurately represents the audience you are assessing)
- It is difficult to know whether and how biases are affecting responses
- Responses can lack depth and detail
- Limited opportunity for follow-up questions
Implementing a survey is often a good choice when the information you are interested in can be accurately reported by the individuals you are assessing. For example, surveys seem like a good way to assess an individual’s attitudes or beliefs about IPM.
If you are interested in assessing whether certain IPM practices are implemented, a survey might suffice, or you could consider other approaches such as conducting a series of on-farm observations, collecting farm application logs or scouting reports from crop advisors.
Method of Communication
There are a variety of ways to administer surveys:
- feedback forms distributed/completed at the conclusion of an event, workshop, etc.
Time and cost are important considerations in deciding whether to implement a survey. Online survey software (e.g. SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, etc.) can help you design questions and reach a large number of respondents. You will incur additional costs (printing, postage and data entry) if you choose to conduct your survey by mail. When conducting face-to-face or telephone surveys, the time and cost for training interviewers should be taken into account.