9am - 5:45pm
Monday 17 February - Wednesday 19 February 2020

Practical Survey Design and Web-Based Methods


This course introduces participants to the general principles of survey design, before considering some of the central challenges facing survey methodology in the move to online data collection. The methodological focus of the course will be underpinned by examples of substantive empirical work from survey practitioners. Participants will also gain first hand experience of online survey design using the Qualtrics software package.

from £395.00 to £595.00

University of Surrey


This course will provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of key issues in survey methodology, and the challenges associated with the increasing shift towards internet enabled approaches.

Indicative content includes:

  • The art and the science of questionnaire design
  • Sampling theory and non-probabilistic approaches to survey design
  • Modes of data collection; self-completion; CAPI; CATI; and the Web
  • Quality criteria in survey methods - survey error; threats to validity and the reliability of estimates
  • Survey weighting and representativeness
  • Ethical considerations in survey research
  • Web based panels and online experiments
  • ‘Mobile first’ and lessons for survey design
  • Falling response rates and survey quality
  • Online survey experiments

Practical hands on workshops will provide students with experience of:

  • Online survey design using Qualtrics

Data collection and descriptive analysis of headline results


On successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of question wording and design issues in survey research (K,C)
  • Gain practical experience of developing an online survey using Qualtrics (P,T)
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the pros and cons of a range of survey designs and the particular challenges of online methods (C,P)
  • Recognise the importance of appropriate sampling methodologies (K,C,P)
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of sources of error in survey measurements and be aware of how they can be measured, prevented and reduced (K,C)
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the principles of ‘mobile first’ for survey design (K)

Key: C-Cognitive/Analytical; K-Subject Knowledge; T-Transferable Skills; P- Professional/ Practical skills


Dr Robert Meadows is a medical sociologist with a particular interest in the sociology of sleep. He has conducted numerous research projects using surveys, and has particular expertise in survey design.

Professor Ian Brunton-Smith is a quantitative social scientist with particular expertise in multilevel modelling, survey methodology, and missing data. For full details of his research interests and experience, see: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/people/ian-brunton-smith

Dr Patten Smith is director of research methods at Ipsos-mori and a survey methodologist with decades of experience in survey sampling, weighting, and questionnaire design. He is also chair of the Social Research Association and a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

*Participants on the course will include some students completing the MSc in Social Research Methods*

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