If a company were carrying out the survey then the purpose would most likely be marketing. Business surveys are carried out to find out what customers like, need and also what they are not in need of. Some businesses will send you surveys after you have purchased something from them. This makes the customer feel that their views are taken into consideration and they will be more likely to purchase from the company in the future because of this. Business surveys also help the company to discover who their customers are, their age, race, and their family size.
Another example of a survey is a behavioural survey. This survey may look at the behaviour of a particular group of people and will normally take the form of a questionnaire. Online surveys are becoming increasingly popular in this form of survey. The questions could ask simple things such as does the person own their own home, do they smoke, and how many cars does the family hold.
An example of a large survey in the United Kingdom is the Census. It is a legal requirement for all households to complete the Census. The questions are quite detailed and ask for information such as the number of people in the household, the ages of the people involved and what jobs they do. This information is kept confidential and held in order to be reviewed years later to see how certain elements of society change over time. There is a penalty for people who do not complete the Census on time, and ultimately they will still be required to complete it.