What are the Different Survey Research Jobs?

Darlene Goodman

Survey research jobs, often linked with market research survey jobs, typically involve the planning, implementation, and analysis of surveys. Surveys can be used to gauge public opinion, study potential markets, and predict future trends in the behavior of the public. The two main categories of survey research jobs are survey researchers and market research analysts. The majority of survey research jobs are in market research.

Trained interviewers are needed to administer surveys.
Trained interviewers are needed to administer surveys.

Many types of organizations need survey data and analysis. Survey researchers are typically hired by universities, governments, political organizations, and other social service institutions, while market research analysts are usually hired by corporations and marketing companies. Overlap often exists between the two job categories, meaning survey researchers are sometimes hired by a corporation and market researchers may work in the social sector.

A woman taking a survey.
A woman taking a survey.

A basic function of most survey researchers is to create surveys. Researchers first determine the needs of the client based on the client’s required information, budget, and timeframe. Survey researchers then determine the proper format for the survey, which can be implemented via telephone, direct mail, the Internet, or face-to-face. The format choice may affect the length of the survey as well as the types of questions employed. For instance, multiple choice questions, rather than open-ended ones, may work better in an online survey.

Many survey researchers oversee the implementation of the survey. To do this, they may acquire and implement special computer-assisted interviewing (CAI) software. Researchers may conduct the interviews themselves or use and manage a team of people to administer the survey, particularly if the format requires multiple interviewers. Survey researchers, especially those who work in academia, may also analyze their own data using statistical formulas.

Market research analysts often create and conduct surveys much like survey researchers but tailor their questions to obtain market-related information. These researchers typically specialize in surveying existing and potential customers to target trends in where, why, and how people spend their money. Market researchers typically integrate their findings with other marketing data and present this information to their clients in a proposal for increased sales.

Secondary survey research jobs can help administer and analyze the surveys. For example, trained survey interviewers are frequently needed to implement surveys. These professionals may conduct the interviews over the phone or through face-to-face meetings. Another secondary research job is that of a professional statistician. Statisticians may identify random samples of people to whom the surveys are administered or may analyze raw survey data and present findings to the main researcher or client.

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