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, 2011 at 17:50
  • 6
    Since I gave them chocolate, are they 'bribees'?
    – fredley
    Mar 26, 2011 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. Mar 29, 2011 at 0:12
  • You would call that person a retiree.
    – Robusto
    Jul 5, 2012 at 14:45

9 Answers 9


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.

  • 3
    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, 2011 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. Jul 5, 2012 at 22:13

You would call that person a participant in the survey.


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

  • 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. Mar 27, 2011 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.


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.


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.


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

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


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.

  • You have misunderstood, I am talking about the other person.
    – fredley
    Mar 27, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 19:32
  • 1
    mgb is apparently talking about a land survey. I fail to see the relevance.
    – David Cary
    Mar 28, 2011 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.

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