Course 15: Data Quality and Fieldwork Management

Instructors: Remco Feskens, Ineke Stoop

Date: August 25-29, 2014
Time: 09:00-13:00

About the instructors:

Remco Feskens, PhD, is a senior research scientist at the research department of Cito, the National Institute for Educational Measurement in the Netherlands. He obtained his PhD at the department of Methods and Statistics at Utrecht University, in collaboration with Statistics Netherlands. His main research interests are research methodology, survey design and data collection.

Dr. Ineke Stoop is a senior researcher at The Netherlands Institute for Social Research/SCP. She is also Deputy Director of Methodology of the European Social Survey. She obtained her PhD at Utrecht University with a thesis on nonresponse. Her main research interests are survey methodology, nonresponse and comparative surveys.

Short course description:

This course will teach participants how to optimize and evaluate survey data quality. Important goals in survey design are to minimize survey errors within a given budget and to acquire timely collected high quality data. Establishing effective and efficient fieldwork strategies will help to accomplish these goals. Optimal allocation of funds and total quality management are key issues in this area. Central in this course are all aspects of survey data collection. The course will cover the choices that have to be made related to the organization and the design of the fieldwork of survey data collection. Design and implementation choices cover the choice of data collection modes, efforts to enhance response rates, the quality of measurements, the collection of auxiliary data to adjust for nonresponse and the training of interviewers. Questionnaire design is not a part of this course, although elements in questionnaire design will be discussed when related to other survey quality criteria. The course will discuss the trade-off between different sources of errors (sampling, coverage, nonresponse, and measurement error). Students are encouraged to work on their own research project, both in the design phase of their project and in the analyses of their own data, if available. The latter is, however, not a requirement. Students can also work on exercises available for the course. The course will be applicable to surveys of individuals, and to a lesser degree to surveys of organisations.

Here you can find the full syllabus (184 kB) of the course with complete information on the topics, literature, and day-to-day schedule.

Course prerequisites:

  • basic understanding of survey methodology (this could be gained in the course "Introduction to Survey Design"  in the first week);
  • prior knowledge of SPSS is suggested but not required.

Target group:

Participants will find the course useful if they:

  • are planning to conduct or to design a (large-scale) survey;
  • wish to evaluate the quality of data collected by a survey;
  • wish to take design issues into account when analyzing survey data.

Course and learning objectives:

By the end of the course participants will:

  • be familiar with the main survey design issues;
  • be familiar with ways to enhance response rates;
  • be familiar with the main risks of nonresponse bias;
  • be familiar with the basic concepts around total survey error.

Organizational structure of the course:

The course is structured around 4 hours of classroom instruction and "free study time". The course instructors shall be available for group and/or individual support during the free study time. They will be available to discuss assignments, to provide additional detail on aspects of the course and to discuss individual research or data collection projects of the participants.

Software and hardware requirements:

Course participants will need to bring a laptop computer for performing the practical exercises for this course. For the duration of the course, GESIS will provide participants with the required software (SPSS).