Introduction to Survey Design

Woche 1 (01.-05. Februar 2021)

Dozenten: Sonila Dardha; Ibrahim Kasirye, PhD


Sonila Dardha is a survey methodologist researching on interviewer effects, response patterns, nonresponse error and 3MC surveys, and a survey practitioner coordinating comparative cross-cultural surveys. Sonila is currently pursuing her PhD in Survey Research Methodology at City, University of London, the host institution of the European Social Survey (ESS ERIC). She has previously obtained three Master degrees, one of which in M.Sc Statistics (Quantitative Analysis for the Social Sciences) from KU Leuven, Belgium. She is an experienced consultant for methods and statistics and has worked with a leading research company in Brussels and London, Kantar, for international projects and institutional clients. These include, for example, the Enterprise Surveys in Africa (World Bank), Eurobarometer Surveys (European Commission), European Elections 2015 (European Parliament), Life in Transition Survey (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), and Global Attitudes Project (Pew Research Center).

Ibrahim Kasirye is the Director Research at the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), Uganda. He is a development economist and obtained his PhD from the University of Manchester, UK. Ibrahim has extensive experience designing surveys in Uganda such as the World Bank’s Service Delivery Indicators (SDI) survey for Uganda in 2013 as well as other smaller surveys targeting specific geographic areas in Uganda. In addition, he has conducted research utilizing large scale surveys on the African continent such as the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). He is a member of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) as well as the African Econometric Society (AES).  Ibrahim joined EPRC under the Young Professional (YP) programme in 2002 and has worked at EPRC in various capacities including holding positions of Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, and Principal Research Fellow.



Surveys are, arguably, one of the most popular methods of data collection for empirical social science research. This course is dedicated to the full survey life cycle and provides insights to every stage of this process. It discusses general guidelines and gold standards in survey design, and addresses common pitfalls and how to avoid them. The course examines the survey life cycle against the assumptions of the Total Survey Error (TSE) framework, a holistic theory to study errors at every stage of the survey process. The objective of this course is to enable participants to design a sound survey project and make informed decisions about core methodological aspects such as the mode of data collection, sampling design, questionnaire design, and fieldwork management. Finally, we discuss quality indicators, e.g. response rates and response styles, following recommendations provided by leading survey research organisations such as the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

A full-length syllabus will be available for download here closer to the course date.



  • No previous experiences in survey design required
  • Participants will benefit from basic knowledge of quantitative methods



Participants will find the course useful if:

  • They are already involved in a survey project but have little knowledge of the applied field of survey design
  • They want to conduct their own survey for an academic project such as a thesis or paper and would benefit from feedback on their designs
  • They have a specific research question, idea or project plan in mind and would like to check feasibility of using surveys and quantitative methods to implement them



By the end of the course participants will:

  • Understand the relevance of surveys for conducting research
  • Have comprehensive knowledge on the full survey life cycle and the TSE framework
  • Be able to critically evaluate surveys
  • Gain skills to design, plan and manage own survey projects
  • Have the capability to transparently document survey data and quality
  • Recognise the importance of research integrity when designing, implementing, managing, and reporting surveys
  • Learn independently following guidelines and gold standards of survey methodology


Hard- und Softwarevoraussetzungen

Participants should bring their own laptops, ideally with an installed Office package and access to the internet to log onto ILIAS. Since this course does not cover survey data analyses, no statistical packages are required.