An anthropologist’s view of surveys. 1. Surveys are overused.
1. Surveys are overused.
It is better to get general information on a site or population from existing data sets and literature, key informants, observation, focus groups and informal interviews before thinking about a survey. In any case, do not collect general information in a survey and do not rely on surveys for all “data needs”—use a variety of methods appropriate to different questions and settings.
2. Surveys should be used primarily for testing hypotheses.
Use the survey to measure variation in the population and to test hypotheses. But do this when you already have collected general information, formulated the research question and/or hypothesis. Keep the survey focused!