Cologne, Germany

Pretesting Survey Questions

online course
when 2 August 2023 - 4 August 2023
language English
duration 1 week
fee EUR 200

The course covers the basic elements of evaluating questionnaires and highlights the general importance of carrying out (cognitive) pretests before fielding a questionnaire. This is achieved through both lectures and group exercises. In the lectures, we introduce three pretesting approaches, namely questionnaire appraisal systems, cognitive interviewing, and web probing. The exercises aim at familiarizing participants with these pretesting methods. We focus on the sorts of information gathered by each method and how the information can be used to reduce measurement error. In this context, we will also discuss the pros and cons of the different pretesting methods and mixed-method approaches. Besides a more general introduction of the pretesting approaches, participants will receive practical advice on how to conduct (cognitive) pretesting projects and how to decide which pretesting methods should be selected in a given research situation.

Course leader

Cornelia Neuert is a social scientist and head of the team Questionnaire Design & Evaluation at GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. Timo Lenzner is a senior researcher in the cognitive pretesting unit at GESIS.

Target group

Participants will find the course useful if:
- they develop their own questionnaires for own data collection.
- they work in a survey organization and work on questionnaire design and evaluation.
- they use survey data and wish to understand the importance of pretesting to reduce measurement error.

Course aim

By the end of the course participants will:
- be familiar with current (cognitive) pretesting methods.
- know the pros and cons of the different approaches to test survey questions.
- be able to make an informed decision about when to use which pretesting method and the ways in which several methods can be combined within a pretesting project.
- be able to evaluate survey questions using the selected methods.

- basic knowledge in questionnaire design; however, some practical experience in conducting surveys will be beneficial.
- there are no statistical prerequisites.

Credits info

Certificate of attendance issued upon completion.

Fee info

EUR 200: Student/PhD student rate.
The rates include the tuition fee and the course materials.
EUR 300: Academic/non-profit rate.
The rates include the tuition fee and the course materials.