Logo Doctoral Certificate Program in Agricultural Economics Deutsch
Course of Study

Module 6300
Principles and Practices of Survey Research: Designing and Conducting Surveys


Course description

Survey data is considered to be one of the ‘work horses’ of quantitative empirical social science research. It is used, for example, to reveal descriptive information and to test theoretical propositions. However, designing and conducting quantitative surveys is not an easy task. Researchers have to make many decisions which might have a considerable effect on the study results: What is the appropriate sample method and sample size? Which mode shall be used to collect respondents’ answers? Which question formats and answer scales should be used?
The aim of this course is to give an overview and discuss potential sources of errors in quantitative survey research. Focusing on the design and implementation of surveys, the course addresses principles and problems of questionnaire designs, sampling methods, and data collection methods. Based on a theoretical foundation of different types of biases in survey research, concrete examples will be analysed.

Course outline

(Thematic blocks for both lectures and seminar sessions)

  1. Introduction
    • Overview on the field of survey methodology
    • Basic principles of survey design and conducting surveys
    • Survey research ethics
  2. Data collection methods
    • Different types of data collection methods (face-to-face, telephone, online, etc.)
    • Errors related to data collection methods (systematic errors, random errors); for example, observation errors: interviewer, respondent, instrument, mode; data-processing errors: coding, transcription, data entry
  3. Questionnaire design
    • Question form, wording and order
    • Questionnaire design and its dependence on the mode of data collection
  4. Methods of survey sampling
    • Different types of sample designs (probability, non-probability)
    • Requirements for representativeness
    • Errors related to sample designs; for example, errors concerning coverage, sampling, nonresponse

Teaching methods

Lectures (50%), seminars (50%)
Grading: Course presentation (100%)
Credit points and type: 3 CP, Empirical methods


No special requirements
References: Literature will be provided at the beginning of the course
Software: None
Language: English

Organization and time

The course is split up into lectures (2.5 days) and seminars (2.5 days). All sessions are held at the University of Kassel in Witzenhausen.


For accommodation, we recommend hostels or hotels directly in Witzenhausen. Please note that we have not made any pre-reservations in the following hotels/hostels and we will not be able to assist you with bookings or any other requests related to these bookings.
http://www.burghotel-witzenhausen.de   (Single/double room from €40/59)
http://www.velologis.com  (Single /double room from €25/43)
All hotels /hostels are within 10 minutes walking distance to the seminar room.
For further information: Prof. Hamm: E-mail: hamm@uni-kassel.de; Phone 05542/981285