Surveys are useful in the description of large population characteristics. Researchers and the public have in the past, used crime surveys and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to gather information on crime. These tools cover a large population such as a city, a neighborhood among others. The survey allows a researcher to ask a similar question to different subjects as well as an attribute a similar intent to all participants involved in a study, especially when using the questionnaire research instrument. Another advantage is that survey research is cost-effective depending on the mode of the survey.
The survey can be administered remotely through computers, mobile devices and mail; hence, reducing geographical dependence (Michael &Earl, 2015). Some of the weaknesses of survey research entail the requirement of standardization, which makes it challenging to assess attitudes of people, their orientations, and experiences. Thus, when questions are designed, they might not be appropriate for all participants; hence, there is a likelihood of missing valuable information from some groups. Such a weakness makes survey research superficial in covering more complex and qualitative topics.
Furthermore, survey studies are not able to deal with some topics in social life. While questionnaires collect information in some areas, it is not possible to create a feel of every situation in life, especially the thinking and attitudes of the respondents. When using a survey to study crime, a challenge may exist when contacting respondents, since the majority might be in a lower-income bracket and transient people. These groups can raise problems when contacting them using regular methods of sampling. Surveys of crime such as NCVS are faced by a deficiency of information, in cases where the offender and the victim have had a relationship.
Finally, survey research is weaker on validity but strong on reliability. When a comparison is done on survey and field research, it is evident that the artificiality of the format of the survey leads to a strain on the validity of the study (Michael &Earl, 2015). If I were to administer survey research, I would use self-administered survey methods using questionnaires through the internet. However, this would vary depending on the category of respondents in the study. In cases where the population is illiterate or homeless, I would adopt self-administered face to face interviews.