Cologne, Germany

Data Science Techniques for Survey Researchers

online course
when 8 August 2022 - 12 August 2022
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 500

A variety of digital data sources are providing new avenues for empirical social science research. To effectively utilize these data for answering substantive research questions, a modern methodological toolkit paired with a critical perspective on data quality is needed. Organized and offered in collaboration with BERD@NFDI, this course introduces state-of-the-art data science techniques that are suited for collecting and analyzing digital behavioral data, so-called "big data", and traditional survey data. In addition, aspects of data quality and error frameworks for digital (big) data sources are discussed.

Course leader

Christoph Kern is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Universities of Mannheim, Germany, and Maryland, USA. Malte Schierholz is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Germany.

Target group

The course will cover the following topics and techniques:
Overview of Big Data: What is it and why does it matter?
Total Survey Error for Big Data
Git and GitHub
Web Scraping
Data bases and SQL
Data quality for gathered data types
Sampling from online material (e.g., Twitter)
(Supervised) Machine Learning for Social Scientists, including:
- Regularized Regression
- Decision Trees and Random Forest
- Boosting
- Applications
Working with textual data: Text Mining and Topic Models

Course aim

After the course, participants will have a profound understanding of important methods from the data science toolkit for collecting and analyzing the data types mentioned. They will be able to apply these methods and techniques in their research using statistical software.

Credits info

4 EC
- Certificate of attendance issued upon completion.
Optional bookings:
- 4 ECTS credit points via the University of Mannheim for regular attendance and satisfactory work on daily assignments and for submitting a paper of about 5000 words to the lecturer(s) up to 4 weeks after the end of the summer school (70 EUR administration fee).

Fee info

EUR 500: Student/PhD student rate.
EUR 750: Academic/non-profit rate.
The rates include the tuition fee and the course materials.


Scholarships are available from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the European Survey Research Association (ESRA), and BERD@NFDI, see