Scholars, market researchers and organizations of all sizes use a wide range of statistical methods to analyze survey data. It helps them understand and measure public opinion, determine customer satisfaction and study a wide range of social and cultural issues.
Widely used spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, along with some basic statistical techniques, are sufficient to analyze data drawn from surveys. Other high-end analysis programs include SAS, SPSS and Stata. Microsoft Excel’s capabilities make it a great tool for conducting basic survey analysis through techniques such as frequencies and descriptive statistics.
Beyond basic techniques, however, there are more complex analytical methods used in survey research. For example, researchers may use factor analysis to examine the correlations among different survey questions with the intent of creating index measures for deeper analysis. On the other hand, some researchers use regression techniques to examine how particular variables of interest affect a particular outcome.
Advanced analysis tools such as SAS and SPSS are designed with research professionals in mind and make a full range of analytical methods possible. Large amounts of survey data can be imported into statistical analysis systems for in-depth research. Nowadays, survey data is also used in data mining, text analysis, collaboration and deployment.