18 August 2023
Advanced Questionnaire Design
Surveys provide key information regarding attitudes and behaviors of the general population as well as in specific subgroups. Reliable and valid survey data relies, amongst others, on a high quality questionnaire using state of the art question wording and appropriate visual design. While the literature concerning the basic principles of designing a good questionnaire provides a decent body of knowledge, some more advanced issues are often less accessible (like split questionnaire design, dependent interviewing, questionnaire design for mixed-mode surveys). In addition, in the field of questionnaire design several innovations have surfaced in the past decades, some of which originated from new devices and survey modes used for data collection (e.g. the specifics of questionnaires for mobile devices) while others were invented in reaction to specific challenges occurring when respondents answer survey questions (e.g. interactive features in questionnaires, using chatbots, ECAs, smart speakers and audio, delegation features, item/person count techniques for sensitive questions).
This course starts with a short introduction of basic concepts relevant to survey measurement, e.g. mode differences, question-answer-process, satisficing, to remind participants of the mechanisms underlying survey measurement.
Based on this recap the course will then introduce to a variety of advanced issues and innovations in the field of questionnaire design for interviewer-administered surveys as well as for web surveys. After a rather descriptive introduction to each topic, results of laboratory and field-experimental studies testing advanced issues and innovations will be presented. The discussion of these studies will highlight the implication of various advanced and innovative aspects of a survey question for the answers provided by respondents.
Based on these studies the course aims to expand the participants' professional reasoning when designing survey questionnaires and their ability to apply advanced and innovative features when designing survey questions and questionnaires. Participants will have the opportunity to implement some of the issues covered in the course to topical survey questions during practical sessions and by means of assignments.
The examples discussed in the course will mainly be taken from surveys of individuals and households; business surveys will not be covered. The course is not restricted to a specific survey mode; examples will be taken from face-to-face surveys, telephone surveys, web surveys, and mail surveys. Coverage issues, sampling, weighting, nonresponse, and other aspects of survey design will not be covered.
Marek Fuchs is full professor for social science research methods at Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany.
Participants will find the course useful if they:
- plan to or are about to conduct a survey and are faced with challenges beyond the basic wording of the question and the answer categories.
- would like to expand their experience in designing questionnaires with insights regarding innovative question types and questionnaire features aiming at higher response quality.
- Basic knowledge in quantitative social science research methods is required.
- Basic knowledge concerning questionnaire design is advisable.
- There are no statistical prerequisites.
By the end of the course participants will:
- have an overview concerning a number of innovations in the field of questionnaire design for interviewer-administered surveys as well as Web surveys.
- understand the pros and cons of these innovations and the potential consequences and side effects of using them.
- have a basic understanding of the implementation of the innovations in their respective fields of topical surveys.
- Certificate of attendance issued upon completion.
The University of Mannheim acknowledges the workload for regular attendance, satisfactory work on daily assignments and for submitting a paper of 5000 words to the lecturer(s) by 15 October at the latest with 4 ECTS (70 EUR administration fee).
EUR 500: Student/PhD student rate.
EUR 750: Academic/non-profit rate.
The rates include the tuition fee, course materials, the academic program, access to library and IT facilities, and coffee/tea breaks.