Introduction to Survey Design

Week 1 (September 16-20, 2019)

Lecturers: Sonila Dardha; Ibrahim Kasirye, PhD

About the Lecturers

Sonila Dardha is a survey methodologist researching on interviewer effects, response patterns, nonresponse error and 3MC surveys, and a senior associate in coordinating comparative and cross-cultural surveys. Sonila is currently pursuing her PhD in Survey Research Methodology at City, University of London, the home of the European Social Survey (ESS ERIC). She has previously obtained three Master degrees, one of which in M.Sc in 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 Public, for international projects and institutional clients. These include, for example, the Enterprise Surveys in Africa (World Bank), Eurobarometer Standard, Special and Flash (European Commission), European Elections 2015 (European Parliament), Life in Transition Countries 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.


Short Course Description

Survey data collections are, arguably, one of the most popular methods of data collection for empirical social science research. In order to draw conclusions on the basis of survey data, it is important to be able to evaluate the quality of the data collection throughout the survey life cycle. This course is dedicated to the full survey life cycle and provides insights to every stage of this cycle. Inherently, it discusses general guidelines and gold standards to survey design and addresses common pitfalls and how to avoid them. The course discusses each stage of the survey life cycle against the assumptions of the so-called 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 making informed decisions about core aspects such as the sampling design, mode selection, question and questionnaire design, and fieldwork. Finally, we discuss quality indicators including response and non-rates following recommendations and gold standards provided by leading survey research organisation such as the American Association for Public Opinion Research. The course focuses on large n public opinion surveys of general populations. General theories and guidelines apply to surveys of individuals, households, and organisations.

For a full-length syllabus of this course, please click here.


Course Prerequisites

  • No previous experiences in survey design required
  • Participants will benefit from basic knowledge of quantitative methods
  • Note that this course is a introduction to survey design and application, it is not a course on survey data analysis


Target Group

Participants will find the course useful if:

  • They are involved in a survey project, but have little knowledge of the applied survey design and implementation
  • They want to conduct your own survey for an academic project, such as a thesis or academic paper
  • Participants will benefit most if they have clear research questions and/or a specific project in mind will benefit most, as they can specifically work on their own project throughout the week and will be provided with feedback on their designs
  • Note this course covers the full survey cycle, for specific needs please contact the course convenor


Course and Learning Objectives

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
    • Comprehensive knowledge of the full survey life cycle
    • Systematic understanding of the TSE framework
    • Ability to critically evaluate and plan surveys
  • Skills
    • Ability to design an own survey project
    • Skills to manage an own survey project
    • Capability to transparently document surveys and survey quality
  • Values and Attitudes
    • Sound understanding of relevance of surveys for academic research
    • Recognition of the importance of research integrity when designing, implementing, managing, and reporting surveys
    • Ability to learn independently in response to the guidelines and gold standards of survey research methodology


Hard- and software requirements

Participants should bring their own laptops for use in the course.