A survey is a quantitative research method aimed at evaluating existing beliefs or hypothesis based on a representative sample of the target population. It generally involves asking people for information through a standardized written questionnaire or is increasingly conducted online.
Participants are either selected randomly or intentionally to be representative for the population (stratified sampling). The question items are either developed based on previous research or based on standardized items and scales in a way that they provide information about the underlying variables
While data collection and analysis can be relatively time consuming, this form of standardized questionnaires are making the research process of collecting data from a large group of individuals more effective.
Standardized surveys can be applied to any research field with sufficient prior knowledge and / or existing hypotheses. By drawing a large enough sample these surveys can provide definitive answers on research questions and can be used to develop statistical models to predict consumer behavior.