Summary: Survey research is a unique methodology that can provide insight into individuals' perspectives and experiences and can be collected on a large population-based sample. Specifically, in plastic surgery, survey research can provide patients and providers with accurate and reproducible information to assist with medical decision-making. When using survey methods in research, researchers should develop a conceptual model that explains the relationships of the independent and dependent variables. The items of the survey are of primary importance. Collected data are only useful if they accurately measure the concepts of interest. In addition, administration of the survey must follow basic principles to ensure an adequate response rate and representation of the intended target sample. In this article, the authors review some general concepts important for successful survey research and discuss the many advantages this methodology has for obtaining limitless amounts of valuable information.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
From the Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, The University of Michigan Medical Center; and Division of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan.
Received for publication November 9, 2009; accepted January 15, 2010.
Disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Amy K. Alderman, M.D., M.P.H., Plastic Surgery; University of Michigan; 2130 Taubman Center; 1500 East Medical Center Drive; Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109-0340; email@example.com