ISSUES IN SURVEY RESEARCH DESIGN Syllabus
Course Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
- Identify primary sources of error in surveys, and discuss the consequences of each type of error for survey findings 2
- Critically evaluate the design, construction and implications of studies based on survey research
- Formulate strategies for surveys that minimize error
- Critically evaluate the design, construction, and implications of surveys
Course DescriptionLeads participants through the process of designing their own survey. Examines the major decisions faced by a health researcher who wants to design and implement a survey. Explores the potential sources of bias associated with alternative approaches to sample design, respondent recruitment, data collection methods (interviews in-person or by telephone, computer assisted interviews, or mail surveys) instrument design, and field administration. Participants prepare a defensible proposal for a survey that they would like to conduct. Emphasizes population surveys, but not exclusively so.
Intended AudienceStudents who plan to conduct a research project that includes a sample survey
Additional Faculty Notes:
This course is intended for multiple audiences with different levels of previous courses and experiences with social research.
Methods of AssessmentStudent evaluation based on class participation and 3 papers.
Additional Faculty Notes:
Grading will be based on:
- Class preparation and discussion. (20%) Class participants will come to each class prepared to discuss assigned design aspects of their own research.
- During select weeks, students will write reaction papers for assigned articles. Students are expected to complete a summary matrix of key course concepts that will be completed and turned in by the end of the term. (20%)
- Completion of written descriptions of 3 sections of student’s own proposal for a survey project. he papers will summarize, describe and amplify features of their design decisions that have been discussed in class.
- The proposed sample design and strategies for reducing non-response with the rationales for your choices, and the strengths and weaknesses of the design. (20%)
- The proposed data collection strategy with the rationales for your choices and the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy. The plan for implementing the survey should include the training and managing of the data collectors and the data collection process. (15%)
- The proposed instrument: Outline of major sections, actual instrumentation for at least one set of “outcome” or “dependent variables” and at least one set of independent variables, and short description of rationale for choices and strengths & weakness of the measures chosen. (25%)
Additional Faculty Notes:
Groves, R. M., Fowler Jr, F. J., Couper, M. P., Lepkowski, J. M., Singer, E., & Tourangeau, R. (2009). Survey methodology (Vol. 561). Wiley. (Assigned chapters on Course Plus but this book should be in your library if you plan a career that might involve surveys)
Other articles available through Course Plus
Recommended Additional Readings
Spector, P. E. (1981). Research designs (No. 23). Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Converse, J. M., & Presser, S. (1986). Survey questions: Handcrafting the standardized questionnaire (No. 63). Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Fowler Jr, F. J. (1995). Improving survey questions: Design and evaluation (Vol. 38). Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.
Academic Ethics Code
Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.
This course will lead participants through the process of designing their own survey as well as provide a foundation in survey methods that will inform future survey work. We will explore the design issues associated with selecting a survey for primary data collection in health research. The course will cover the major decisions and alternatives faced by a researcher who wants to design and implement a survey that will provide an accurate representation of the characteristics and behavior of a particular population. We will examine issues common to surveys including such topics as sample design, respondent recruitment, response rates, data collection methods (interviews in-person or by telephone, computer assisted interviews, or mail surveys), instrument construction, and potential sources (respondent and interviewer) of bias.
Selection of population and sampling approach, non-response and coverage, hard-to-reach populations, data collection methods including: telephone, face-to-face, mail, web-based, text messaging, and computer assisted, instrument construction, respondent error, and managing interviewer error.
Contact Information(from old syllabus)
Jacinda Dariotis, PhD, MAS, MS, MA
Course Objectives(from old syllabus)
Identify primary sources of error in surveys and discuss the consequences of each type of error in survey findings. Critically evaluate the design, construction and implementation of surveys using alternative data collection stratefies. Formulate strategies for student's own surveys to reduce error. Develop a scientifically defensible proposal for a survey research project
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