Survey or Interview for initial user reasearch?

Hello! A university student working on her graduation project would really appreciate your help.
So my project is tailored for female-identifying students on campus- it is a e-commerce mobile app that allows students to buy and sell secondhand products from clothes, furniture, makeups and etc more easily. As of right now, people are just posting images of their products on a group page which is really inconsistent and has many many paint points.

I’m at the stage of doing user research. But since our campus is really small, I’m only expecting max 50 and min 20 people to respond to my survey, if lucky. Would it be wise to carry out the survey knowing that the sample size is so small? or would it be better off carrying out interviews instead?

Any feedback and suggestions would be grateful!

Thank you!

Welcome to the community @halfradish!

Surveys and interviews accomplish two different things. In this specific case, I don’t think you need to do a survey. I would do short criteria seeking survey (called a screener) to find people to interview for an hour.

Hope that helps!

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Thank you @jdebari! Would it be possible to know a bit more about why survey wouldn’t typically be used in this case? Is it because it’s likely that the sample size might not be a representative of the whole population of my target group? And is that why we do a screener to achieve a smaller but accurate target group to ask more questions?

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A survey is possible, but when you have a small sample size you have to look at the confidence interval. Smaller sample size can have a wide confidence interval, which means unless every single person took the survey you would have trouble extrapolating the data.

You could still do one. However, when using surveys remember they work best for “how much” of something. They are great to use as data to back up what you heard in interviews. You get the language, questions, and responses from what you heard in the interviews first and then you send out a survey to quantify that information.

Hope that helps!

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Thank you so much for your detailed explanation!

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