Quantitative research is usually conducted through the use of a questionnaire or a survey. Surveys are conducted using trained interviewers and can be administered through a number of mediums including:

  • Face-to-face:
    • Interviews tend to be conducted on the street or door to door
    • Use paper questionnaires administered by interviewer or CAPI (computer assisted personal interviewing)
  • Telephone:
    • Generally conducted via CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing)
    • Use random digit dialling or from respondent lists provided by client
  • Online:
    • This involves participants completing the questionnaire themselves
    • Invitations to take part are sent to an existing panel of representative respondents or to a list provided by client
  • Paper:
    • This involves participants completing the questionnaire themselves
    • Questionnaires can be posted to respondents or given to them in selected locations

Surveys can be administered on an ad-hoc basis or the same questionnaire can be conducted at regular intervals (known as tracking) to monitor shifts in attitude or behaviour over time.


  • A face-to-face ‘exit poll’ survey of people as they leave a screening service to understand their experiences
  • Telephone satisfaction survey of people who have used a smoking cessation service
  • Online survey of teenagers to understand their attitudes to alcohol consumption
  • Paper questionnaire left in a doctors surgery to measure views on waiting times



An omnibus survey can be an alternative way of getting quick, relatively low cost answers to questions when a full research survey is not necessary. Several research companies conduct surveys (telephone, online and face-to-face) with a demographically representative audience on a regular basis and it is possible to buy questions on these omnibus surveys. This can be useful in cases where a response is needed to only a few questions, particularly if the response is needed quickly. Example: Testing unprompted and prompted awareness of a new advertising campaign through a few questions on an omnibus.

Hall tests

Hall tests are a way of getting the views of a cross-section of people when there is something that the people need to see, for example a TV advert or the plans for a new hospital. Respondents are recruited in the street and invited into the ‘hall’ (this can be any central location such as a community hall or a hotel room) to see the item and be asked questions about it. Example: Having a hall test in a local shopping centre to test out people's views of different leaflets that have been designed.