Sociology | Topics in Methods & Measurement
S450 | 3792 | Kennedy

Topic: Survey Research Methods

This course introduces the students to the history, theories, and
methods of survey research. The course focuses on the design,
development, execution, and analysis of surveys. In particular,
survey sampling, question construction; questionnaire design,
computer-assisted interviewing techniques, survey data analysis, and
research ethics will be covered. Multiple survey modes - in-person,
mail, Web, and telephone - will be included in the course. In
addition, all students participate in the design and data collection
activities of an ongoing survey.

The course begins by describing the various uses of survey research
but focuses on the development of sample surveys as a form of social
and behavioral science. The second part of the course focuses on
survey design. In this part, we cover the ethical issues survey
researchers often face. I include research ethics not only because
it’s the “right” thing to do but also because ethical considerations
are necessary for high quality data. Good ethics is good design. We
will continue to discuss ethical issues throughout the course.

We will spend a substantial amount of time discussing sampling
procedures for all survey modes. I will not base the presentations on
mathematical or statistical sampling procedures. Rather, sampling
will be presented to help students understand the importance of
sampling procedures for data quality. During this part of the course,
students will train as telephone interviewers and conduct interviews
in a current survey.

The next part of the course focuses on questionnaire design and
question development. The presentations will not be technical;
rather, they will focus on helping students develop an appreciation
of need for clear communications skills in survey methods. The course
will finish with a section on survey data analysis and data

This course will cover the theoretical and intellectual bases of
surveys along with the practical issues of conducting surveys.
Students who participate as interviewers learn how the theoretical
and practical survey design features are actually implemented. The
facilities of the Center for Survey Research will be used throughout
the course. The students will have many opportunities to see how
surveys are conducted in a professional research environment.