Introduction to Survey Methodology: Questionnaire Design, Data Collection Modes, and Improving Survey Quality

Instructor(s):

  • Nora Cate Schaeffer, University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • Philip Brenner, University of Massachusetts at Boston

The field of survey methodology draws on theories and practices developed in such academic disciplines as mathematics, statistics, psychology, sociology, computer science, and economics. This workshop helps to prepare researchers to become more accomplished professionals in the survey research field. The scope of this workshop introduces and examines a body of research literature as well as experiences in designing, conducting, and analyzing surveys. Key concepts in survey methodology are addressed: inference and error in surveys, modes of data collection , interviewers and interviewing, questionnaire design, question evaluation, item construction, and addressing non-response in surveys. Participants will be exposed to both observational and experimental methods to test key hypotheses about the nature of human behavior that affect the quality of survey data.

Morning Sessions The morning sessions of the workshop will distill research about survey questions to principles that can be applied to write survey questions which are clear and which obtain reliable answers. Participants will develop the tools to use in diagnosing problems in survey questions and in writing their own survey questions. The workshop provides guidelines for writing and revising survey questions and illustrates how to revise troubled questions. Assignments require that participants analyze problematic questions, revise them, and administer them to fellow participants. Sessions consider both questions about events and behaviors, as well as questions about subjective phenomena (such as attitudes, evaluations, and internal states).

Afternoon Sessions The afternoon session introduces participants to a set of principles of survey design that are the basis of standard practices in the field. The sessions expose participants to research literature that uses both observational and experimental methods to test key hypotheses about the nature of human behavior that affect the quality of survey data. The concept of total survey error is used as a framework to discuss alternative modes of data collection, field administration operations, the role of the survey interviewer, and impacts of nonresponse on survey statistics. Sessions combine lecture with group exercises and discussion.

NOTE: Registration and full payment of the $1500 fee through the ICPSR Summer Program Portal qualifies participants to attend both morning and afternoon sessions. The morning sessions are held under the auspices of the SRC Summer Institute. The afternoon sessions are held under the auspices of the ICPSR Summer Program. Details on classroom and lab locations will be sent to paid participants as we approach the course dates.

Fee: Members = $1500; Non-members = $3000

Tags: survey methods, questionnaire design

Course Sections

Section 1

Location: ICPSR -- Ann Arbor, MI

Date(s): June 9 - June 13

Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Instructor(s):

  • Nora Cate Schaeffer, University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • Philip Brenner, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Syllabus:

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