Survey Forms vs Questionnaires: What's the Diff?

Don't get your forms all twisted up! This guide will help you untangle surveys from questionnaires once and for all.
Luna Qin
Reading time: 4 minutes.

People answering online PDF survey form and questionnaire

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten an email with a ‘quick survey’ attached, only to open it up and be greeted by a million open-ended essay questions. You think to yourself ‘This is no survey!’ But then… what exactly is the difference between a survey and a questionnaire?

Survey vs questionnaire: understanding the distinction

What is a survey?

A survey constitutes a series of structured, standardized inquiries crafted to gather specific data points and metrics from respondents. Typically, questions in a survey are presented in a multiple choice, rating scale, or other closed-ended format.

And what about a questionnaire?

In contrast, a questionnaire tends to feature open-ended, freeform queries, allowing respondents to offer subjective feedback, opinions, and insights in their own words.

If you’re still uncertain about their distinctions, let’s delve into their respective applications:

When to utilize them?

Surveys excel in capturing precise data to gauge metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, product feature preferences, and employee engagement levels. Checkboxes, star ratings, and ranking scales are commonly employed in surveys.

Questionnaires prove invaluable for exploratory purposes, particularly when seeking raw customer feedback to enhance a product or comprehend broader opinions and motivations. Long-form free-response fields and expansive prompts shine in questionnaire design.

Key differences: survey vs questionnaire

Here’s a breakdown highlighting the key disparities between survey forms and questionnaires:

Aspect Survey Questionnaire
Question Format Structured, standardized questions Open-ended, freeform queries
Purpose Gather specific data points and metrics Obtain subjective feedback and insights
Typical Use Cases Customer satisfaction, product features, employee engagement Product improvement, understanding motivations
Question Types Multiple choice, rating scales, closed-ended Free-response, open-ended, subjective
Metrics Gathered Quantitative data Qualitative data

Understanding these nuances helps tailor the approach to suit the specific objectives and desired insights of a given research endeavor.

Quiz: survey form or questionnaire - which one fits your needs?

Uncertain about whether a survey form or a questionnaire is the right choice for your upcoming data collection project? Take this brief 5-question quiz to determine the best fit for you! It’ll only take about a minute of your time.

Let your results guide you to the appropriate online form format. As evident, this quiz resembles more of a survey. It’s an online form created using PlatoForms. Tools like PlatoForms empower you to effortlessly build either a survey or a questionnaire, depending on your specific needs.

Building a survey or questionnaire with PlatoForms is simple

No matter which type of form you require, PlatoForms streamlines the process for you. Here’s how:

  • Convert existing PDFs: transform your PDF surveys or questionnaires into online fillable forms effortlessly using our online conversion feature. Simply upload your PDF, and PlatoForms will do the rest.

  • Create from scratch: with our user-friendly editor, you can easily craft custom surveys or questionnaires tailored to your needs. Design your form with ease, incorporating various question types and formatting options.

  • Versatile sharing options: embed your forms directly onto websites for seamless accessibility, or share them via email with your audience. Our platform also integrates seamlessly with apps like Make or Zapier for enhanced automation and connectivity.

    Read more: Elevate Your Workflows with PlatoForms & Make Integration

  • Streamlined data collection: say goodbye to the hassle of manual data entry. PlatoForms automates the process, ensuring that responses are efficiently captured and organized for your analysis.

  • Comprehensive features: enjoy a range of features designed to streamline your form-building process, including conditional logic, response validation, and customizable notifications.

With PlatoForms, form creation and data collection become a hassle-free endeavor, allowing you to focus on deriving valuable insights from your surveys and questionnaires.

How to create a survey or questionnaire with PlatoForms

  1. Create a new form: log in to your PlatoForms account, follow the instructions here to create your online form.

  2. Add questions: use the form builder to add questions and select appropriate question types (such as text fields, dropdowns, and etc.).

  3. Set conditional logic: utilize conditional logic to automatically show or hide specific questions based on the respondent’s answers. For example, if the respondent selects “Yes,” display additional questions; if “No,” hide those questions.

  4. Customize form fields: use form fields to add titles, paragraphs, separators, and other elements to enhance the readability and structure of your form.

  5. Design form style: choose suitable colors, fonts, and layouts to make your form look professional and appealing. For more details, see Design online web form.

  6. Share the form: share the form link by embedding it on a website or sending it via email, allowing respondents easy access to your survey or questionnaire.

    Read more: Embed Forms With a Simple Copy-Paste URL

In conclusion

PlatoForms offers a user-friendly solution for creating, sharing, and managing surveys and questionnaires. With features such as conditional logic and customizable form fields, you can streamline the form-building process and enhance the respondent experience. By utilizing PlatoForms, you can efficiently collect and analyze data, gaining valuable insights to inform your business decisions. Whether you’re seeking customer feedback, conducting market research, or gathering employee opinions, PlatoForms empowers you to create impactful surveys and questionnaires with ease. Start simplifying your data collection process today with PlatoForms. Sign up here!

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