Surveys are being used increasingly in health-care research to answer questions that may be difficult to answer using other methods. While surveys depend on data that may be influenced by self-report bias, they can be powerful tools as physicians seek to enhance the quality of care delivered or the health care systems they work in. The purpose of this article is to provide readers with a basic framework for understanding survey research, with a goal of creating well-informed consumers. The importance of validation, including pretesting surveys before launch, will be discussed. Highlights from published surveys are offered as supplementary material.