Using Surveys for Academic Research

Anthony Arundel, UNU-MERIT

This three-hour workshop provides an overview of the essentials of survey research, from an evaluation of the usefulness of a survey for answering research questions to survey implementation. The workshop is primarily designed for graduate students or academics who are thinking of running a survey as part of their research, but it is also of use to people who would like a better understanding of survey methodology and how to critically appraise published survey research. The topics covered in the workshop include:


  • Survey fundamentals such as how to select 1) the target population, 2) the survey method (mailed, CATI, face-to face, online), 3) the measurement level for variables and 4) the choice of statistical models for analysis.

  • Survey details such as the types of questions that can be asked, how to maximize response rates, develop a timeline, and estimate survey costs.

  • Steps for designing a structured questionnaire with mainly closed questions.

  • How to conduct cognitive interviews to test your survey questions.

  • Survey methodology, including the survey protocol.

  • How to run a non-respondent survey.

  • Best practice for online (internet-based) surveys.



The workshop will use real examples of problems and solutions drawn from past surveys in Europe and overseas. Participants will be asked to assess several sample questions and take part in a short role-playing exercise to provide experience with cognitive interviews. If at all possible, participants are asked to bring with them 4 copies of no more than two pages of their own survey questions. These questions will be used in the cognitive interview exercise.

Venue: Keizer Karelplein 19, Maastricht, Conference Room

Date: 20 March 2015

Time: 13:00 - 15:00


UNU-MERIT