An increasing number of surveys are employed in the field of public administration. This begs the question, what is the quality of this form of research? In this article two different surveys are presented and compared. First, a client satisfaction survey implemented at twelve municipal offices is examined. Second, there is an exploration of an international comparative research project that studies municipal representatives (MAELG). An examination of the research methodologies employed in both of these two surveys reveals the problems inherent to this type of inquiry. Strategies for overcoming these obstacles in future research are described. This study argues that examination of methodological issues can lead to important substantive insights; in this case it is the link between public administration and democracy.