Cologne, Germany

Introduction to Survey Design

when 12 August 2024 - 16 August 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 550

This course gives an introductory overview of the design and implementation of surveys from the initial planning phase to the data preparation as a final step. Topics include survey mode assessment and selection, sampling frames and designs, nonresponse, questionnaire design, cognitive pretesting, assessing measurement errors, and data editing. The course is taught from a Total Survey Error perspective weighing data quality at each step of the process against associated costs.

This class is mainly targeted at master and Ph.D. Students that plan on conducting their own surveys.
The course is taught through in-class presentations, group exercises as well as personal tutorial meetings that give participants the opportunity to discuss their own survey designs. Each day we will discuss a specific topic that each focuses on one or more aspects of survey design within the Total Survey Error framework.

First, the choice of the survey mode is discussed, and how different ways to sample respondents follow from that choice. On the second day, we focus on the issue of survey nonresponse - how to prevent, analyze, and correct for it. On the third and fourth day, the actual survey content is discussed - how to write survey questions, make sure that they measure what they are intended to measure, test them, and finally, how to assess whether survey data are of good quality. On the final day, we focus on data coding and maximizing quality. We conclude with an overview perspective of all survey errors and their interaction with survey costs.
The course will be applicable to surveys of individuals, households, and organizations in different survey modes: mail, face-to-face, web, and paper-and-pencil surveys.

Please note that this is an introductory course (see also course prerequisites and target group).

Course leader

Bella Struminskaya is an assistant professor in methods and statistics at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Peter Lugtig is an associate professor at the Department of Methodology and Statistics at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Target group

You will find the course useful if you:
- are thinking about conducting a quantitative survey yourself,
- use survey data and wish to understand its potential errors,
- are a Master or PhD student preparing your own survey,
- are a researcher who collaborates within a survey research project.

The course is tailored to those relatively new to the area of survey methodology and who plan to conduct their own survey in the future. The course does not provide an introduction to data analysis of survey data. Rather, it is focused on the design of surveys.

- No previous experience in survey research is needed; however, some basic practical experience in conducting surveys and analyzing data will be beneficial.
- A basic understanding of statistics is assumed, at the level of basic inferential statistics (t-tests).
- You need to send a brief summary of your experience with surveys (about 0.5 page) and the questions you have about how to design surveys before 31 July 2024 to
- You should be prepared to share information about the survey you are planning on conducting, you are currently involved with or would like to conduct in the future.

Course aim

By the end of the course, you will:
- have a good grasp of the complexities of interacting survey errors,
- be able to design a survey project yourself taking the possibility of survey errors into account,
- be prepared for more specialized courses at the GESIS Summer School.

Credits info

4 EC
- Certificate of attendance issued upon completion.

Optional bookings:
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).

Fee info

EUR 550: Student/PhD student rate.
EUR 825: Academic/non-profit rate.
The rates include the tuition fee, course materials, the academic program, and coffee/tea breaks.


Scholarships are available from the European Survey Research Association (ESRA), see more information on our website