It is also practical in the sense that it covers a long process over determining what a research needs in particular as it can be modified and take the form of interviews, questionnaires, or a combination of both. In a survey-interview, for example, it allows a researcher to observe the subject and modify questions if the subject seems confused by them. Survey is a good method to consider specially if there is a long range of respondents involved and the researcher needs to collate more uniformed answers in a given period of time (example, respondent-reactions due to the changes brought about by a recent ordinance created). Unlike plain interview that answers brought about by open-ended or close ended questions may vary and sometimes complex in their meaning, survey-questionnaires can eliminate the possibility that the researcher can influence the subject by is or her facial expressions, e.g., unconsciously frowning at an answer making unnecessary body language. Of course, there is always a danger that subjects may give misleading answers in order to make themselves “look good” but the researcher can always modify the questions in several different ways to detect this as well.
Surveys are also ideal to use when concerns for safety is involved. It has been tested and experience through time that when safety is concerned, it is highly difficult to get willing respondents that will be open for research. There are two ways to hamper successful data gathering through face-to-face interviews. First, potential respondents may refuse to be interviewed because they fear the stranger-interviewer specially if the subject for the research is a sensitive one. Second, the interviewers themselves may be in danger given that in some studies to be conducted, a need to expose researchers in a dangerous situation is inevitable (Maxfield, and Babbie, 2008).
Social desirability is known to be one of the common problems that plague self-report crime questions in