Survey Methodology

Advanced methods
Course Description: 

Advanced Methods course, open for ALL tracks

Every empirical investigation in political science (and in the social sciences, in general) requires valid and reliable data, and the application of carefully selected statistical methods. The typical form of data collection is conducting a survey, and well-designed surveys can provide the researcher with good data, even if they are based on surprisingly small sample sizes. The course will discuss the most important concepts and techniques in survey design and analysis. A clear understanding of these methods is necessary for the political scientist who is engaged in data collection, but it is also needed for the researcher and the policy maker who analyses or interprets data. The mathematical background of this class will be kept at about high school level.

Learning Outcomes: 

Ability to critically interpret survey data; to judge the quality of a survey; to design and conduct simple surveys, including questionnaire design, sampling, organization and analysis; to be able discuss aspects of designs of more complex surveys with survey professionals. The class, in addition to presenting principles, facts and methods, aims to develop the correct attitude towards surveys.


Students are welcome to read the relevant chapters of the textbook before class. Occasionally, the views expressed in the class text or in other textbooks or by the instructor, will be conflicting. This reflects the fact that often, there is no single best methodology to apply. This feature of survey methodology will be discussed repeatedly in class. Students will be asked to present methodological summaries of current international surveys (week 12), as a way to identify in practice the methods and principles discussed.

Midterm test – 40%
Final take-home assignment – 60%
The assignment will require the design a country level survey with questionnaire, sampling plan and weighting procedures.
Students who wish to audit the class will have complete the midterm test