Survey Research Methodology

Surveys—from in-person to web-based, and discrete choice to stated preference—are an important means of collecting sociological, statistical, and demographic data. RAND has pioneered the use of surveys in several fields, including the development of the Delphi method of opinion gathering, and examined the statistical accuracy of various survey formats and web-based surveys.

  • Person answering a questionnaire online, photo by SvetaZi/Getty Images


    Human Subjects Protection at RAND

    The RAND Human Subjects Protection Committee works to ensure the ethical treatment of people who take part in RAND public policy research projects through observation, intervention, interaction, or the use of data about these individuals. Contact us if you have questions about your rights as a research participant.

    Feb 3, 2020

  • A physician behind star ratings, photo by Natali_Mis/Getty Images


    A New Way to Capture the Patient Experience

    Researchers have developed a more effective and reliable way for patients to provide narrative feedback about the care they receive. When the right questions are asked, patients' answers can help health care providers better understand the patient experience and learn how they could improve.

    May 2, 2019

  • Multimedia

    Prevention Outcomes Monitoring: Data Collection for Prevention Program Providers Webinar

    Webinar of training guidance for data collectors and data entry personnel who will be using surveys to monitor prevention program outcomes.

    Oct 22, 2018

  • Two millennials and a baby boomer


    Millennials Worry Less About National Security Than Baby Boomers Do—for Now

    Millennials worry less than baby boomers about national security. But these views may have more to do with being young than being millennials.

    Jun 14, 2018

  • The cover of the New York Post newspaper is seen with other papers at a newsstand in New York, November 9, 2016


    Why the Polls Were Wrong

    RAND's Presidential Election Panel Survey, like other polls, overpredicted the popular vote. But since it focused on the decisionmaking process and how that translated into behaviors, the data could provide deep insights into what happened and how it took pollsters by surprise.

    Nov 14, 2016

  • Political cartoon of a Republican elephant and Democrat donkey


    Survey Says? Inside RAND's Election Poll

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, our panel of experts discusses the latest results of the RAND Presidential Election Panel Survey (PEPS), and what they might portend for Election Day.

    Oct 6, 2016

  • A patient receives chemotherapy while a loved one comforts her


    Points to Consider When Using Surveys of Cancer Patients

    Patient surveys provide unique insights for improving cancer care quality and new opportunities for research. However, features of survey populations such as sampling and early mortality should be accounted for when analyzing the findings.

    Jul 19, 2016

  • Diverse group of people standing in a circle


    Taking the American Pulse This Election Season

    For the past decade, a unique RAND survey has asked Americans how they feel about the economic crisis, health care reform, and more. Now, it's focused on the 2016 presidential election.

    May 4, 2016

  • Periodical


    RAND Review: May-June 2016

    This issue highlights integrative medicine and the future of health care; the RAND American Life Panel; a commentary on how to expedite the process of resolving open cases at Guantánamo Bay; women soldiers on the special ops battlefield; and more.

    May 2, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Measurement Invariance Across Administration Mode: Examining the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Checklist

    The accuracy of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) screening was not affected by using two modes of administering the PTSD Checklist (PCL). The benefits of using both phone and computer outweigh the risk of using two administration modes.

    Apr 20, 2016

  • Stickers are displayed at a polling station for the Wisconsin presidential primary election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 5, 2016


    The Latest from the RAND Presidential Election Panel Survey

    RAND's panel survey examines voter attitudes, intentions, and choices, and how these change throughout the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Some sizeable shifts in positions occurred in survey results from December to March.

    Apr 7, 2016

  • Elissa Wenthe (C) holds her 4-month-old son as she listens to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speak at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, January 24, 2016


    RAND Kicks Off 2016 Presidential Election Panel Survey

    RAND's panel survey examines voter attitudes, intentions, and choices, and how these change throughout the 2016 U.S. presidential election. What sets this effort apart from public opinion surveys and political polls is that it surveys the same people over the course of the election.

    Jan 27, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    Despite 'Outsider' Popularity, Voters See Little Difference Between Candidates on Ideology

    The RAND Presidential Election Panel Survey confirmed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as front-runners in their respective primary races. Over the course of the campaign, RAND's surveys will shed light not only on voting intentions but also on voters' opinions about political issues in the news, attitudes towards candidates, and more.

    Jan 27, 2016

  • Satisfaction survey and charts


    Taking an Interest: What Makes Someone Respond to a Survey

    Researchers have two main reasons for caring about non-response. First, it is important to ensure that survey findings are unbiased and representative, and second, concern about survey non-response is a key reason given by those who ignore or chose not to act on the findings of research.

    Jan 5, 2016

  • Special Operations Forces utilize the Melrose Air Force Range's rough terrain and unique layout to conduct realistic training, November 8, 2012


    Considerations for Integrating Women into U.S. Special Ops Forces

    A survey of special operations forces (SOF) personnel identified their concerns with allowing women to fill SOF positions. Many said they thought mission effectiveness and unit cohesion would suffer as a result.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • A survey with checkboxes for either agreeing or disagreeing


    How to Help Surveys Have More Impact

    How can researchers and the users of survey research move from a knee-jerk dismissal of survey findings to being comfortable trusting and acting on the findings? Likely ways forward include emphasizing the methodology, triangulating the evidence, acknowledging the limitations, and developing good communication and trust between parties.

    Oct 16, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Most California Residents Facing Psychological Distress Do Not See the Public as Supportive and Report Discrimination

    In a survey of California residents facing psychological distress, only 41 percent believe that people are caring and sympathetic to those with mental illnesses, and 81 percent believe that people with mental illness experience high levels of prejudice and discrimination, both in personal relationships and in public realms such as the workplace.

    Apr 23, 2015

  • Gail Lopez-Henriquez wears an 'I Voted Today' sticker on Election Day morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 4, 2014


    Republicans May Make Gains in Midterm Election, but Democrats Remain Strong Nationally

    The Republican Party has a strong chance of maintaining control of the House and possibly even gaining control of the Senate. But survey results suggest that, while individual races may vary, support for Republican candidates nationwide may be less than support for Democratic candidates.

    Nov 4, 2014

  • U.S. residents in line to vote


    Survey Says: House, Senate Races Too Close to Call

    Recent survey data suggests competitions for both houses of Congress are too close to call. While reported probability of voting for a given party has remained constant overall, churn in individual responses indicates some voters are changing their minds.

    Oct 27, 2014

  • U.S. Capitol in autumn


    Voters Give Republicans an Edge in Senate Races, House Too Close to Call

    Significantly more survey respondents anticipate Republicans will take the Senate for their state compared to those who anticipate Democrats will. However, there is not a clear difference in opinion regarding the race for the House.

    Oct 16, 2014

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