Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”


Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription to the ECPR Methods School offers and updates newsletter has been successful.

Discover ECPR's Latest Methods Course Offerings

We use Brevo as our email marketing platform. By clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Brevo for processing in accordance with their terms of use.

Survey Design

Member rate £492.50
Non-Member rate £985.00

Save £45 Loyalty discount applied automatically*
Save 5% on each additional course booked

*If you attended our Methods School in July/August 2023 or February 2024.

Course Dates and Times

Monday 27 ꟷ Friday 31 July 2020
2 hours of live teaching per day
Courses will be either morning or afternoon to suit participants’ requirements

Kathrin Thomas

University of Aberdeen

This seminar-type course provides a highly interactive online teaching and learning environment, using state of the art online pedagogical tools. It is designed for a demanding audience (researchers, professional analysts, advanced students) and capped at a maximum of 12 participants so that the Instructor can cater to the specific needs of each individual.

Purpose of the course

Surveys ask a lot of people a lot of questions. They are, arguably, the most popular method of data collection, because it is supposedly straightforward to run a survey. However, in practice, designing a survey to collect good quality data is more complex.

This course provides in-depth guidelines to survey research design, embedding and discussing the so-called Total Survey Error (TSE) at all stages of the survey life cycle. 

Above all, it is your opportunity to work on your own survey design.

ECTS Credits

3 credits Engage fully with class activities 
4 credits Complete a post-class assignment

Instructor Bio

Kathrin Thomas teaches at the University of Aberdeen. 

Previously, she was Senior Research Specialist in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, where she worked on the Arab Barometer.

Her main research interests are survey research methodology as well as social and political behaviour. Kathrin's current research includes measuring sensitive behaviour and attitudes using Randomised Response Techniques and other experimental designs in surveys, interviewer effects, and other methodological issues in survey practice.

Kathrin has extensive experience with survey data design, management, and analysis from her work on the Arab Barometer; the European Social Survey; the Austrian National Election Study; the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems; and applied survey practice at Kantarpublic (former TNS BMRB).

Day 1

We introduce the TSE framework, the ideal typical survey life cycle, and point to potential error according to the TSE at each stage. 

Day 2

We focus on survey sampling (probability and non-probability samples) and error at the sampling stage. 

Day 3

We discuss question and questionnaire design, focusing on how to design survey questions, how to best order these on a questionnaire, and how to guide respondents through this questionnaire most effectively in order to avoid error.

Day 4

We introduce different modes of data collection and their trade-offs regarding representation and measurement error.

Day 5

We look at pre-testing fieldwork implementations and potential error sources. We close by discussing the future of survey data collections in times of other popular data sources, such as big data. 

The content of this course is transferable to surveys of individuals, households, and organisations.

How the course will work online

The course will use a variety of online learning tools. Pre-course independent resources, including short lectures, glossaries and self-checked exercises can be accessed at any time, but we will also offer also a variety of live interactive sessions. For instance, we will use a flipped classroom design where you’ll have the chance to interactively discuss solutions to exercises provided along with the course material. 

You will be able to present your own survey project or parts of it (i.e. your sampling strategies, survey questions, question batteries or questionnaires, anticipated modes of data collection or fieldwork strategies) to the class. Other participants (and the Instructor) will provide feedback, food for thought, and input plotting the presented design against the core principles of survey design and potential sources of survey error. 

This course will help you shape a survey project. You will get the most from it if you are in the process of designing your own survey project. You should benefit from the comments, feedback, and questions from the course Instructor but also from exchange with fellow participants.