Survey Research Methods In Health Research

Types Of Health Research

The classification of the types of health research varies according to which aspect the research is reviewed. Based on the methods used, health research can be classified into two large groups, namely:

Survey Research Method

Survey research is a study conducted without intervening on the subject of Research (Society), so it is often called non-experimental research. In a survey, the study is not carried out on the entire object under study or the population but takes only a part of the population (sample). 

The sample is the part of the population that is considered representative of its population. In survey research, the results of the study are the result of the whole. In other words, the results of such a sample can be generalized as the results of the population.

Survey research is classified into two, namely survey research that is descriptive (descriptive) and analytical (analytical). In descriptive survey research, research is directed to describe or describe a situation within a community or society. 

For example, the distribution of disease in society and its relation to age, sex, and other characteristics. Therefore, descriptive research is often called exploratory research (exploratory study). In a descriptive survey, research generally answers the question of how (how).

While the analytical survey, survey research is directed to explain a state or situation. For example, why diseases spread in a community, why diseases occur in a group of people, why people do not use the facilities that have been available, why people do not want to make a family toilet, and so on. This analytical survey generally seeks to answer the question of why (why?), therefore also called explanatory research (explanatory study). 

Furthermore, this analytical survey research is divided into three types, namely:

a. Cross-Sectional

In cross-sectional or cross-sectional research, the variables of cause or risk and effect or case that occur in the object of study are measured or collected simultaneously (at the same time). For example, research on the relationship between body shape and hypertension, the relationship between environmental sanitary conditions and infectious diseases, and so on. Data collection for this type of research, both for risk or cause variables (independent variables) and effect variables (dependent variables) are carried out together or at once.

b. Retrospective Study

This study is a study that seeks to look back (backward-looking), meaning that data collection starts from the effects or consequences that have occurred. Then the effect is traced back to the cause or variables that affect the effect. In other words, this retrospective study departs from dependent variables, then looks for independent variables. 

For example, a study that will look for a link between smoking and lung cancer. So it starts by collecting cases of lung cancer patients, then from the case asked about the history of smoking in the past until now. 

From here it will be possible to know how many percent of the cases smoke, how many cigarettes are smoked every day, and how many percent of the cases do not smoke. From the proportion of smokers and non-smokers to the number of cases, it will be concluded the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

c. Prospective Study (Cohort)

This study is a research that is looking forward (inward looking), meaning that the study started from the variable causes or risk factors, then followed the consequences in the future. In other words, this study departs from the independent variable and then followed the consequences of the independent variable to the dependent variable. 

For example, research on the relationship between smoking and lung cancer did not start from cases or sufferers, but from people who smoke and non-smokers. The study started by taking samples from smokers and nonsmokers and followed for example until the next 15 years. After 15 years, then to such people, a medical examination is held, in particular, the lungs. 

From the analysis of the results or the proportion of people who smoke and have lung cancer, and non-smokers also have lung cancer, as well as people who smoke do not have lung cancer, and non-smokers do not suffer from lung, it can be concluded the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.


Notoatmodjo, S. (2010). Notoatmodjo s Health Research Methodology, editor. Jakarta: PT. Rineka Cipta.

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