Designing A Demographic Survey: A Complete Guide

A demographic survey is a basic survey which used in almost every research. Even the government and stakeholders always rely on demographic data in making a decision.

To be honest, demographic is always be the basic thing in many analysis. It could provide and support many interesting facts.

You can use a variety of variables and relate them to demographics to produce interesting surveys and research. It is always useful, especially in the academic field.


How to Design a Proper Demographic Survey

In this article, I would like to show you how to design the sample demographic questionnaire. You can use it as a prototype for your own demographic research.

1. Define your survey goals and aim

There are two things that you have to remember when deciding your demographic survey goals.

First, your survey should be a comprehensive one.

It should consider and calculate the whole involved aspects and sees a reciprocal relationship between designer survey, producers and consumers so that the survey is effective and efficient.

Second: set your priority scale.

A demographic survey cannot fulfill all of your wishes or all of the data consumer need. It is limited research that restricted by cost, time, energy, and your sample condition. Make sure you list the things that you want to find out by approximating all limitations.

2. Make your survey plan

Every researcher has dreams of how to produce good demographic data. To do that, we should make better preparation.

Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

So, make a good one.

steps-to-make-you- own-demographic-survey

2.1 Explain your object and survey goals clearly

Yes, write in detail the purpose of the survey that you will do. Answer the following questions to make it easier to determine what do you want to search.

1. Information that you want

You have to write what kind of information that you need. If we talk about demographic data, list it. Questions such as age, gender, marital status, etc are the things that you have to include.

You can add another variable likes health, educational, housing characteristics, and others.

2. Research domain

Do not forget to specify where do you want to do your demographic survey.

3. Tabulation

There are several levels of data presentation that you can do. Starting from the state, state, village, city, etc.

4. Data Accuracy

A survey has the error, and you should calculate how the error is.

2.2 Longitudinal or cross-sectional survey?

Longitudinal surveys aim to produce trendy data and compare them over time.

While the cross-sectional survey aims to produce data at a one-time point and compare the variables produced.

3. Field Preparation


2.3 Sample design

Designing a survey sample is a vital part. It will affect the result of your survey.

You should have the master frame to decide the best sampling method suitable for the survey. Regarding the budget, time, your ability, chose the best sampling technique which produces the minimum error.

Also, define your estimation procedure so you won’t be confused to analyze your demographic data.

2.4 Data collection methods

Nowadays, there are various data collection techniques. You can do the direct interview, focus group discussion, administration record, self- enumeration interviewing. Pick the appropriate one.

2.5 Determine your variable and questionnaire

Imagine that you already have a general description of the demographic survey that you are going to do, so now, the time determines the scope of the variable you want to examine.

Determine which are the dependent and independent variables.

Spread these variables in the form of questions, arrange them so that they are easy to understand.

Read as many references as possible in compiling a list of questions.

Also, determine the survey period, this will determine the results of the analysis later.

Design a questionnaire to make it easy to use and don’t forget to prepare guidelines for using the questionnaire.


2.6 Survey Organization and Management

When arranging a survey, we should know that how the data collected.

Whatever method of data collection is used, we must arrange how the field organization so that the survey can run from beginning to completion.

This field organization starts from preparation, data collection officers, to the design of data processing officers.

2.7 Create a schedule of the survey from planning to reporting

Yes, you should make a timeline and stick to it no matter what. It will help you to maintain the survey progress and producing information based on the proper time.

2.8 Estimating your survey cost

Honestly, the budget is an important factor that greatly influences the conduct of the survey. The budget will determine the sampling design, data collection method, field management, until the form of the report you want later.

In theory, the bigger the budget, the better the survey result. Additional costs can certainly increase the number of samples which in theory will reduce the value of sampling error and vice versa.

2.9 Use a pilot survey

The pilot survey is a preliminary survey that is used as a form of trial.

Usually, pilot surveys are used in large-scale surveys or censuses. However, if you have more costs, there is no harm in conducting a survey pilot.

This pilot survey will be useful for detecting various errors. You can also do data simulation so that you can detect various mistakes that might occur.

demographic survey questionnaire for college

3. Preparation for conducting the survey

You are ready for the survey. But, wait, let’s check our preparation first.

Before getting started, you have to recheck several important things.

You must review the method of data collection, prepare a sample list, allocate workload to field staff (in case you need extra energy), check field instruments such as questionnaires, assignments, manuals, other helpful tools.

If your survey has concepts and definitions that are quite difficult to understand, then it is best to hold officer training so that each officer has the same understanding.

This is very important to maintain data quality.

You also have to determine the methods in survey supervision, obstacles that may occur in the field, to the mechanism of managing documents to be neat and systematic.

4. Executing your demographic survey

It’s your day. You have to keep your both eyes open and watch every detail that happens. Examine every process and stick to the timeline that you made before.

Check the completeness of the instrument and make sure that the questionnaire is filled incorrectly.

You also need to be prepared for the possibility of respondents who refuse to provide data and arrange a strategy to maintain the accuracy of the statistics produced.


5. Data processing

After completing your data collection, now you have to process and tabulate it. In this phase, you have made a clear procedure about data processing.

How you will process the data? Which software do you want to use? Who will be the data entry person?

Before you go the computer process, make sure you check all of the questionnaires from the field. You have to minimize the error and do the pre-checking before the computer does.

It helps a lot to produce a good result and analysis.

6. Reporting and publishing the output

After processing all the data, making the analysis, now you have to serve it in a good form. You can put your creativity here by making a various report.

If you use a standard report format, make sure you use the applicable rules. There are several steps you have to prepare.

In other contexts, you can also make interesting reports that contain infographics, posters, etc. so that it is more attractive to many people.


Designing a Demographic and Employment Survey: An Example

Have you finished reading all the stages of the survey design above? Now, let’s try applying.

In this example, I will try to design a demographic and employment survey.

I. The goal of this survey: Describing the employment condition in a country and producing some macro indicators of employment.

Information: demography characteristics, educational background, job status, employment status, job field status,

Research Domain: every country in a state

Tabulation: District level

Object: people who currently above 15 years old in a state

II. Indicators that wants to be produced:

1. Main data of employment and continuity

2. Estimating the unemployment level

3. Estimating the structure of employee

4. Describing employment by demographic characteristics.

III. Types of the survey: this is a longitudinal survey because it is already conducted routinely by the government.

IV. Coverage: This survey includes residents over the age of 15 in the State

V. Timeline: This survey stars from January to April

Planning: January

Officer field training: February

Field execution: February

Data processing and analyzing: March

Reporting and disseminating: April

VI. Design sampling:

Sampling frame: population data from official government documents

Sampling technique: Probability Proportional to Size (PPS), with the size of the number of families, then selecting 20 samples for each district.

VII. Data collection instrument

Data collection method: Paper assisted personal interviewing using the direct interview

Supporting instrument: questionnaire, enumeration manual, supervision manual, pocketbook, pencil, pen.


Questionnaire Design for Demographic and Employment Survey

Take a look at this example of the demographic survey questionnaire.

There are several tips that you have to list before designing your questionnaire, It should be based on your main goal, variable, and indicators that you want to produce.

If you want to make demographic survey questions for college students, demographic survey questions questionnaire for students, it could be a basic example.

To make it easier, let’s make it in several blocks which have the same characteristics.

Block I. Description of place

Block II. Summary

Block III. Identity of The Officer

Block IV. Household characteristics

Block V. Household information which above 15 years

example- of-demographic-survey-questionnaire

Well, this is only a sample demographic questionnaire design. You have to improve and test the reliability and validity before using it. But, you can use this as a guide or hint to design your own.

If you want to use this demographic survey questions for college students, please do the pilot survey first.


Tips for Designing a Better Demographic Survey

1. Find as many aspects as you want to examine

The more indicators you want to produce, the more attractive the questionnaire design you make.

2. Read the suggestion page on research or journals

The advice section on research always contains interesting things. By reading a variety of demographic research, you can gather a variety of suggestions of demographic characteristics that you can apply in the demographic survey that you design.

3. Conduct a focus group discussion

If you have funds and time, there is no harm in conducting focus group discussions with experts or research objects. This will change your perspective in designing a good questionnaire for research.


This is the steps how to make a demographic survey:

  • 1. Define your survey goals and aim
  • 2. Make your survey plan
  • 3. Preparation for conducting the survey
  • 4. Executing your demographic survey
  • 5. Data processing
  • 6. Reporting and publishing the output

Designing a demographic survey questionnaire is an interesting part of the survey. .You can put your main perspective and deliver it to people to make new information and result.

After deciding your research design, choose the suitable data analysis.

Happy designing!

Do not hesitate to leave a comment!