Interviews and Survey Design

Max Bergman was extremely enthusiasitic and helpful, and his course went far beyond what I had expected from a one-week course. — participant from Hong Kong

This course introduces participants to the design and implementation of interviews and surveys. It covers all the fundamental and practical issues that social scientists encounter when designing and conducting interviews and survey. Participants learn how to develop different research designs for interviews and surveys, how to design questions for interviews and questionnaires, and how to analyze qualitative interview data. This intensive course consists of lectures, exercises, and assignments. The level of the course ranges from introductory to intermediate.

Participants, who are interested in additional survey methods training, especially the statistical analysis of quantitative survey data, can combine this course with Survey Data Analysis.


Dates

This one-week course was offered in 2013.


Instructor

M. Max Bergman (picture), University of Basel


Detailed Description

Surveys and interviews are omnipresent in today's societies and the study of societies. We are constantly asked to complete surveys, to respond to qualitative or quantitative social research interviews, and the mass media continually reports results from surveys or features interviews. How systematic are these interviews and to what extent are these surveys and the reporting of survey results flawed? What needs to be done to avoid methodological errors and to enable us to draw conclusions about broader social science phenomena from interviews and surveys?

This course introduces participants to the design and implementation of interviews and surveys. You will learn how to conduct social science interviews and what a good research design for interviews and questionnaires is. You will also learn how you can assess the quality of survey results in publications, policy papers, and newspaper reports. This course covers the most important issues on interviews, surveys, and the generation of interview and survey data. With the development of new forms of interviews and surveys (e.g., focus groups, web surveys), the profusion of 'big data' research, and with the subsequent data analysis in mind, it is more important than ever to understand how different methodologies have created a set of best practices to design and conduct surveys and interviews.

Participants are introduced to fundamental and practical issues such as the introduction to empirical research methods, research design for interviews and questionnaires, question design for interviews and questionnaires, and an introduction to analysis of interview data. This intensive course consists of lectures, exercises, and assignments. The level of the course ranges from introductory to intermediate.


Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.


Requirements

Participants are expected to bring a WiFi-enabled laptop computer. Access to data, temporary licenses for the course software, and installation support will be provided by the Methods School.


Core Readings

Biemer, Paul P., and Lars E. Lyberg. 2003. Introduction to Survey Quality. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Czaja, Ronald F., Johnny E. Blair, and Edward A. Blair. 2003. Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions and Procedures. 3rd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

De Vaus, David. 2002. Surveys in Social Research. 5th edition. London: Routledge.

Fowler, Floyd J. 2002. Survey Research Methods. 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Suggested Readings

Berg, Bruce L., and Howard Lune. 2011. Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. 8th edition. New York, NY: Pearson.

Foddy, William. 1994. Constructing Questions for Interviews and Questionnaires: Theory and Practice in Social Research, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Gubrium, Jaber F., and James A. Holstein. 2001. Handbook of Interview Research: Context & Method. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Ritchie, Jane, and Jane Lewis, eds. 2003. Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Silverman, David, ed. 2004. Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.