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The University of Southampton

RESM6005 Survey Design

Module Overview

Students taking this module will gain first hand experience in the design and management of survey research projects.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide students with an understanding of the main issues involved in the design and conduct of sample surveys in social research, with a particular emphasis on sample design, data collection procedures, non-response, and the design and testing of questionnaires.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the key principles and practices of survey design and implementation
  • Construct survey questionnaires according to best practice and drawing on the relevant social and cognitive psychological literature;
  • Writing skills
  • Demonstrate awareness of the various sources of survey error and means of controlling them using design principles
  • Identify, describe and evaluate a range of sampling designs
  • Problem solving;
  • Project management;


This module is an introduction to key issues in the design and analysis of random sample surveys. Students will be introduced to the Total Survey Error framework in which survey quality is understood as the practice of minimising the total error in survey estimates (bias + variance) for a fixed cost. The content of the module will focus on the different approaches to drawing random samples, modes of administration, principles of questionnaire design, assessing and correcting for non-response and longitudinal survey designs.

Special Features

This module is taught by leading experts from across Academic Units and Faculties. This co-ordinated research methods training programme brings together students from across the faculties of Human and Social Sciences, Humanities and Health Sciences.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be via lectures, seminars, and independent study. This will entail a combination of multidisciplinary lectures and tutorials with presentations, discussions and exercises. Learning activities will include learning in lectures, by presenting and discussing issues and undertaking exercises during seminars, completing practical take-home assignments, as well as by independent study.

Independent Study100
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Bradburn, N. M. and Sudman, S. (2004). Asking questions.. 

Groves, Robert M., F.J. Fowler, Mick P. Couper, James M. Lepkowski, Eleanor Singer, and R. Tourangeau. (2009). Survey Methodology. 

de Leeuw, E.D., Hox, J. & Dillman, D. (Eds.) (2008). The International Handbook of Survey Methodology. 

Other. Access to text books, journal articles, web sites and other sources of related information. Resources to support the production of blended learning materials will be made available by the Doctoral Training Centre.

Dillman, D., Smyth, J. and Christian, L. (2009). Internet, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys: the tailored design method. 


Assessment Strategy

Formative assessment through feedback from seminar activities. The assessment will require students to write a survey design proposal that critiques the ‘clients’ draft questionnaire and considers survey mode and cost, sampling strategies, response rates and sample representativeness.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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