SURV623: Data Collection Methods

Data Generating Process

The course will review alternative modes and methods of data collection used in surveys. It concentrates on the impact modes of data collection have on the quality of survey data, including measurement error properties, levels of nonresponse, and coverage error. Methods of data collection will focus on advances in computer assisted methodology and comparisons among various methods (e.g. telephone versus face to face, paper versus web versus computer-assisted interviews, interviewer administered versus self-administered). The statistical and social science literature on interviewer effects will also be examined, including literature related to the training and evaluation of interviewers. With respect to nonresponse, we will review the literature on the reduction of nonresponse and the impact of nonresponse on estimation.

Course objectives: 

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify and describe a range of different modes of data collection;
  • Articulate how design decisions can impact the quality of data obtained from surveys;
  • Select appropriate data collection methods for different research goals; and
  • Critically evaluate a data collection plan and propose alternative methods for survey error reduction.
  • 5 quizzes (20 points/4 points each; 10% of grade)
  • class participation (20 points; 10% of grade)
  • 4 homework assignments (120 points/30 points each; 60% of grade)
  • final exam (open-book) (40 points; 20% of grade)

Students should have successfully completed Surv400 Fundamentals in Survey and Data Science or demonstrate equivalent knowledge gained through work experience, short courses, or other educational outlets.

Course syllabus: 

Course Dates


Fall Term (September – November)


Fall Term (September – November)