I am writing about a survey I wrote to evaluate the usability of a program. When describing the methodology of the survey, I refer to the person conducting the survey as the investigator. What should I call the other person?

The investigator gave the [?] a tour of the functions of the application.

  • 4
    Given the usual case of a survey being completely for the benefit of the commissioner; "victim" comes to mind. – Richard Mar 26 '11 at 17:50
  • 5
    Since I gave them chocolate, are they 'bribees'? – fredley Mar 26 '11 at 17:52
  • I'd also just say that survey is probably inappropriate for this specific example, which looks more like a UAT (User Acceptance Testing) process. In which case the [?] should probably be called testers, users, or maybe even clients. – FumbleFingers Mar 29 '11 at 0:12
  • You would call that person a retiree. – Robusto Jul 5 '12 at 14:45

I suspect participant may be more common, particularly when pluralised, but that may simply be because it's a more common word applicable in many other contexts. For a single individual in this context, respondent seems more precise to me.

It's less common, but I think interviewee is equally suitable in OP's context.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Participant just indicates involvement. The investigator is also a participant. A respondant indicates not only involvement, but a role or primary activities or responsibilities. – JustinC Mar 26 '11 at 21:36
  • @JustinC: Totally agree. Belatedly I've "emboldened" respondent to make it crystal clear that it's better than participant for OP's context. – FumbleFingers Jul 5 '12 at 22:13

You would call that person a participant in the survey.

| improve this answer | |

I have some experience in the surveying industry and we call them respondents.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    As I suspected. I just googled "+survey +participant" and got 17M hits. Significantly less for "+survey +respondent", but the first query got lots of results from blogs, newspapers, advertisers, etc., whereas the second seems to have more results from pollsters and others in the business. – FumbleFingers Mar 27 '11 at 1:38

For completeness: Google gives some hits for surveyee, e.g. on Wiktionary.

But I do think participant or respondent as suggested in other answers goes better with investigator.

| improve this answer | |

Most of the answers have decided on participant, which I think is the most appropriate. We can also use respondent, according to the following combase.ca glossary entry:

Respondent: Refers to the selected person in the household who will answer the questionnaire.

| improve this answer | |

Someone who participates of anything is a participant. Someone who is using an application is a user. Someone being investigated is a suspect. Someone being surveyed can also be a respondent.

But in the instance, I would just say:

The survey person conducted the participant through an application's function tour.

| improve this answer | |

Perhaps participant, omitting in the survey if the context allows...

The investigator gave the participant a tour of the functions of the application.

| improve this answer | |

It used to be a survey assistant who held the pole but with the advent of robotic total stations a lot of it is now a one-man job so the surveyor does everything.

| improve this answer | |
  • You have misunderstood, I am talking about the other person. – fredley Mar 27 '11 at 19:28
  • @fredley, yes you used to have another person to do the unskilled pole holding part. While you worked the instrument but now the instruments are remote controlled so you can hold the pole - saving a salary – mgb Mar 27 '11 at 19:29
  • Instruments? Pole holding? I have no idea what you're talking about. As stated in my survey this is a usability survey for an app I wrote. – fredley Mar 27 '11 at 19:32
  • 1
    mgb is apparently talking about a land survey. I fail to see the relevance. – David Cary Mar 28 '11 at 20:58

Other popular terms for a person who fills out a survey:

individual, person, member of that demographic group, member of the population, respondent, writer, ...

If you choose a certain category of people to take your survey (rather than a randomly selected people in your city), then you might use terms that apply to that category: computer user, Mac user, iPhone user, Android user, guitarist, grandmother, etc.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.