Summer school on advanced survey design

I teach an annual summerschool lasting five days titled: Advanced survey design . It is usually scheduled in teh first week of September and lasts 5 full days.

The course in survey design takes student beyond the introductory courses offered in BA and MA programmes, and discusses the state-of-the-art of one of the most important data collection techniques: surveys. The course focuses on the methodology of how to do surveys, and the use statistical techniques to analyse and correct for some specific survey errors. It combines short 1-hour lectures with exercises on most of the topics discussed. We assume course participants are proficient in working with R. Most of the exercises can also be done with STATA or SPSS, but answers will be provided in R The course assumes basic knowledge of:

  • Basic knowledge of social science research methodology
  • Multivariate statistics up to the General Linear Model
  • The basics of survey methodology (the basic of sampling questionnaire design, collecting and processing data)

Day-to-day schedule:

Monday, Day 1:

  • 09:00-10:00 Lecture Introduction to the Total Survey Error Paradigm
  • 10:00-11:00 Lecture Types of data and their relation to Total Survey Error:
  • Designed data
  • Organic data
  • Designed big data
  • 11:00-12:00 Exercise Study design and minimizing Total Survey error(in groups)
  • 13:00-14:00 Lecture Choosing an appropriate sampling frame and sampling design. Registers, geodata and digital trace data.
  • 14:00-15:00 Lecture Sampling designs: statistical efficiency, survey costs and survey practice
  • 15:00-16:00 Exercise Working out a sampling design (computer exercise)

Tuesday, Day 2:

  • 09:00-10:00 Lecture Advanced questionnaire design
  • 10:00-11:00 Lecture Mixing the modes
  • 11:00-12:00 Exercise Designing for mixed mode surveys
  • 13:00-14:00 Lecture Mobile and mixed-device surveys
  • 14:00-15:00 Lecture Questionnaire design for mixed-device surveys
  • 15:00-16:00 Exercise Exercise: questionnaire design for mixed-device surveys

Wednesday, Day 3:

  • 09:00-10:30 Lecture Weighting to correct for survey nonresponse
  • 10:30-11:00 Lecture Paradata: what is it and how to use it?
  • 11:00-12:00 Exercise Creating poststratification weights (computer exercise)
  • 13:00-14:00 Lecture Sampling, coverage and nonresponse weights
  • 14:00-15:00 Exercise Raking, combining weights (computer exercise)
  • 15:00-16:00 Exercise Imputation or weighting (computer exercise)

Thursday, Day 4:

  • 09:00-09:30 Lecture Surveys and big data
  • 09:30-10:30 Lecture Passive data collection using mobiles (sensors)
  • 10:30-11:00 Lecture Ethics, consent, willingness
  • 11:00-12:00 Exercise Introduction to working with geo-data or accelerometer data (choose 1) (computer exercise)
  • 13:00-14:00 Lecture Sampling revisited: design-based vs. model based inference and effects on Total Survey Error?
  • 14:00-15:00 Exercise Exercise on model-based inferences from (non) probability samples
  • 15:30-16:00 Exercise Continue exercise from morning or afternoon

Friday, Day 5:

  • 09:00-10:00 Lecture Working with text or picture data
  • 10:00-11:00 Exercise Object recognition, text recognition, text exercises (introductory exercise)
  • 11:00-16:00 Exercise Your own project. Consultations with teachers of the course to discuss your survey questions in more depth. You may bring your own dataset, questionnaire or study design to discuss. Alternatively, there is time to finish some of the exercises earlier or read specific literature

For information about the course, including how to register, please have a look at the Utrecht Summer School website

Background readings for the course are:

  • Aggarwal, C.C. (2018) Machine learning for text. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-73530-6, doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-73531-3 (day 5)
  • Antoun, C., Katz, J., Argueta, J., & Wang, L. (2018). Design heuristics for effective smartphone questionnaires. Social Science Computer Review, 36(5), 557-574 (day 2)
  • Biemer, P.P., de Leeuw E., Eckman, S., Edwards, B., Kreuter, F., Lyberg, L., Tucker, N.C., West, B., eds. (2017) Total Survey Error in Practice, Wiley, especially chapters 2 and 7 (days 1, 2)
  • Brunsdon, C. & Comb, L. (2019) An introduction to R for spatial analysis and mapping (Spatial analysis and GIS). (2nd edition). Sage, London. ISBN-13: 978-1526428509 (day 5)
  • Dillman, D.A., J.D. Smyth, and L.M. Christian (2009) Internet, Mail and Mixed-Mode: The Tailored Design Method, 3rd Edition. Wiley and Sons, chapters 4 and 5 especially (day 2)
  • Foster, Ian, et al., eds. Big data and social science: A practical guide to methods and tools. CRC Press, 2016 (day 2, 4)
  • Fowler, F.J. (1996) Improving survey questions – design and evaluation. London, Sage, Chapters 1-6 (day2)
  • Groves, R.M. et al. (2009), Survey Methodology, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley (days 1-3)
  • Hox, J.J. (1997) From theoretical concept to survey question. In: Survey Measurement and Process Quality Ed. By L. Lyberg, P. Biemer, M. Collins, E. D. De Leeuw, C. Dippo, N. Schwarz, D. Trewin. Wiley, p. 47-69. (day 2)
  • Japec, L., Kreuter, F., Berg, M., Biemer, P., Decker, P., Lampe, C., … & Usher, A. (2015). Big data in survey research: AAPOR task force report. Public Opinion Quarterly, 79(4), 839-880.
  • Meng, X. L. (2018). Statistical paradises and paradoxes in big data (I): Law of large populations, big data paradox, and the 2016 US presidential election. The Annals of Applied Statistics, 12(2), 685-726 (day 1,4)
  • Kreuter, F. (Ed.). (2013). Improving surveys with paradata: Analytic uses of process information (Vol. 581). John Wiley & Sons (day 1,2, 4) *De Leeuw, E. D., J. J. Hox, and D. Dillman (2008). International Handbook of Survey Methodology. New York, chapters 17 & 19. (days 1-3)
  • De Leeuw, E. D. (2005). To mix or not to mix data collection modes in surveys. Journal of official statistics, 21(5), 233-255. (day 2)
  • Lohr, S. (2009). Sampling: design and analysis. Nelson Education (day 1 and 3)
  • Lynn, P. (1996) Weighting for non-response. In Totman et al et al. Survey and statistical computing, available on: (day 3)
  • Presser, S. , M.P. Couper, J.T. Lessler, E. Martin, J. Martin, J.M. Rothgeb, and E. Singer (2004) “Methods for Testing and Evaluating Survey Questions”, Public Opinion Quarterly, 68 (1): 109-130. (day 2)
  • Valliant, R., Dever, J. A., & Kreuter, F. (2013). Practical tools for designing and weighting survey samples. New York: Springer (day 3)

More specific reading materials will be references in the course slides, which will be available to participants at the start of the course. These more specific readings are recommended if students want to go into more depth into specific issues.

Peter Lugtig
Associate Professor of Survey Methodology

I am an associate professor at Utrecht University, department of Methodology and Statistics.