Many times I have seen these words "research" and "survey" in newspapers. Like a research shows that... or a study shows that... or a survey conclude that...

From these statements it is not clear that what is the difference between the words research,study and survey.

Previously I was thinking that research is a scientific word where as survey is a non-scientific word. Also I thought that survey is done over a large group whereas research is done over a small group.

Please help me in understanding the basic difference between these words.

3 Answers 3


Scientific research typically involves experimentation, although there are other kinds of academic research that do not involve experiments, which involve the analysis of primary sources and consultation of secondary sources.

A study is scientific research focused on a particular hypothesis, or a particular relationship (e.g. obesity and poverty); in non-scientific contexts, it can be the exploration of a particular subject (the causes of a civil war, say, or the literary works of an author).

A survey typically involves the posing of questions to a population of respondents whose size is statistically significant. Surveys are often used in the social sciences.

  • In scientific papers, I guess "survey" or "review" is seeking for the answer to a question using the studies already done on the subject (to survey that studies).
    – Ahmad
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 7:23
  • 1
    Yes, when one assesses the scholarly or scientific literature on a particular subject, one is said to "survey" that literature, and such a written work can be called a "a survey" or "a review".
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 15:08

In this context "study" and "research" have similar meanings. The word "study" can be understood to mean "research study".

The word "research" is not stated but it's implied. ("A study shows..." can be understood to mean "A research study shows..")

A survey is a type of research where people are asked questions about their opinions and experiences.


Actually we should know three basic terms:

Statistics is the field of study or we can say a science and art of collecting, organizing, presenting and interpreting data for exposing a problem and finding solutions.

Research is a systematic process used by statisticians to achieve the aforementioned goals.

Research has different types and tools. A survey is a kind of research or we can say a method and tool of research for collecting data.

  • Research isn't just performed by statisticians, so you should probably clarify your meaning there. Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 6:04

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