Course Descriptions

SurvMeth 600 (Fall term)

Fundamentals of Survey Methodology

3 credits

The course is intended as an introduction to the field, taught at the graduate level. It introduces a set of principles of survey design that are the basis of standard practices in the field. The course examines research literatures that use both observational and experimental methods to test key hypotheses about the nature of human behavior that affect the quality of survey data. It also presents statistical concepts and techniques in sample design, execution, and estimation, and models of behavior describing errors in responding to survey questions. The course uses total survey error as a framework to discuss coverage properties of sampling frames; alternative sample designs and their impacts on standard errors of survey statistics; alternative modes of data collection; field administration operations; the role of the survey interviewer; impacts of nonresponse on survey statistics; the effect of question structure, wording and context on respondent behavior; models of measurement error; postsurvey processing; and estimation in surveys.

Prerequisites: Graduate level status, or upper-level undergraduate with permission of instructor.

SurvMeth 617 (Winter term)

Methods and Theory of Sample Design

3 credits (Sampling & Estimation course)

Methods and Theory of Sample Design is concerned with the theory underlying the methods of survey sampling widely used in practice. It covers the basic techniques of simple random sampling, stratification, systematic sampling, cluster and multi-stage sampling, and probability proportional to size sampling. It also examines methods of variance estimation for complex sample designs, including the Taylor series expansion method, balanced repeated replications, and jackknife methods.

Prerequisites: None.

SurvMeth 623 (Fall and Summer term)

Data Collection Methods

3 credits (Survey Error course)

This course reviews alternative data collection methods used in surveys, focusing on interviewer-administered methods. It concentrates on the impact of these techniques on the quality of survey data, including measurement error properties, nonresponse, and coverage errors. The course reviews the literature on data collection methods, focusing on comparisons of major modes (face-to-face, telephone, and mail) and alternative methods of data collection (diaries, administrative records, direct observation, etc.).

Prerequisites: Current registration in a Program in Survey Methodology degree program OR previous completion of Fundamentals of Survey Methodology (SurvMeth 600).

SurvMeth 625 (Winter term)

Applied Sampling/Methods of Survey Sampling

3 credits (Sampling & Estimation course)

Methods of Survey Sampling is a moderately advanced course in applied statistics, with an emphasis on the practical problems of sample design, which provides students with an understanding of principles and practice in skills required to select subjects and analyze sample data. Topics covered include stratified, clustered, systematic multi-stage sample designs; unequal probabilities and probabilities proportional to size, area, and telephone sampling; ratio means; sampling errors; frame problems; cost factors; and practical designs and procedures.

Prerequisites: Two graduate level courses in statistical methods.

SurvMeth 630 (Winter and Summer term)

Questionnaire Design and Evaluation

3 credits (Measurement & Questionnaire Design course)

This course focuses on the development of the survey instrument, the questionnaire. Topics include wording of questions (strategies for factual and non-factual questions), cognitive aspects, order of response alternatives, open versus closed questions, handling sensitive topics, combining individual questions into a meaningful questionnaire, issues related to question order and context, and aspects of a questionnaire other than questions. Questionnaire design is shown as a function of the mode of data collection such as face-to-face interviewing, telephone interviewing, mail surveys, diary surveys, and computer-assisted interviewing.

Prerequisites: None.

SurvMeth 632 (Fall term)

Cognition, Communication, and Survey Measurement

3 credits (Measurement & Questionnaire Design course)

Survey data are only as meaningful as the answers that respondents provide. Hence, the processes that underlie respondents' answers are of crucial importance. This course draws on current theorizing in cognitive and social psychology pertaining to issues such as language comprehension, information storage and retrieval, autobiographical memory, social judgment, and the communicative dynamics of survey interviewing, to understand how respondents deal with the questions asked and how they arrive at an answer.

Prerequisites: None.

SurvMeth 670 (Winter term)

Survey Design Seminar

3 credits (Survey Practica course)

This is a wide-ranging graduate seminar in which several program faculty members join with the students in attempting to solve design issues presented to the seminar by clients from the private, government, or academic sectors of research. Readings are selected from literatures not treated in other classes, and practical consulting problems are addressed.

Prerequisites: SurvMeth 612, SurvMeth 623.

SurvMeth 672 (Winter term)

Survey Practicum: Data Collection

2 credits (Survey Practica course)

This is the first course in the two semester sequence that constitutes the practicum in survey research. This practicum provides students with a working knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the survey method. Class time will be devoted to instruction and practice in questionnaire development, pretesting, blocklisting, sampling, coding, and interviewer training. The skills taught during class periods are preparation for out-of-class fieldwork that culminates in the conduct of a household interview survey.

Prerequisites: None.

SurvMeth 673 (Fall term)

Survey Practicum: Data Analysis

2 credits (Survey Practica course)

This course is the second in the series of courses comprising the survey research practicum. The course focuses on lectures and readings on most of the following issues: data cleaning and file preparation; classification systems and recodes; descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing; sums of squares and the analysis of variance; data reduction through factor and/or cluster analysis and the development of indices; cross-classification of categorical data and the measurement of association; multivariate linear regression tools; dummy-variable regression and multiple classification analysis; the logic of causal analysis and multiple dependent variables; multiple indicators, measurement errors and statistical analysis; report writing, graphics and the presentation of data.

Prerequisites: SurvMeth 672.

SurvMeth 685 (Fall Term)

Statistical Methods I

3 credits

This is the first in a two term sequence in applied statistical methods covering topics such as regression, analysis of variance, categorical data, and survival analysis.

Prerequisites: Completion of a two course sequence in probability and statistics or equivalent.

SurvMeth 686 (Winter Term)

Statistical Methods II

3 credits

This builds on the introduction to linear models and data analysis provided in Statistical Methods I. Topics include: Multivariate analysis techniques (Hotelling's T-square, Principal Components, Factor Analysis, Profile Analysis, MANOVA); Categorical Data Analysis (contingency tables, measurement of association, log-linear models for counts, logistics and polytomous regression, GEE); and lifetime Data Analysis (Kaplan-Meier plots, logrank test, Cox regression).

Prerequisites: Completion of Statistical Methods I.

SurvMeth 691

Special Areas of Survey Methodology

3 credits

Each course will cover a different area of survey methodology. Titles and descriptions will be listed each term in the University Time Schedule.

Prerequisites: Some background in survey methodology is desirable.

SurvMeth 699

Directed Research

Directed research on a topic of the student's choice. An individual instructor must agree to direct such research, and the requirements are specified when approval is granted.

Prerequisites: Survey Methodology students only.  Graduate standing and permission of instructor.

SurvMeth 701 (Fall term)

Analysis of Complex Sample Survey Data

3 credits (Sampling & Estimation course)

This introductory course on the analysis of data from complex sample designs covers the development and handling of selection and other compensatory weights; methods for handling missing data; the effect of stratification and clustering on estimation and inference; alternative variance estimation procedures; methods for incorporating weights, stratification, clustering, and imputed values in estimation and inference procedures for complex sample survey data; and generalized design effects and variance functions.

Prerequisites: SurvMeth 625 - Applied Sampling and at least two graduate level statistical methods course covering topics including linear regression and logistic regression.

SurvMeth 720 (Fall Term) and 721 (Winter Term)

Total Survey Quality I and II

4 credits

These courses review the total error structure of sample survey data, reviewing current research findings on the magnitudes of different error sources, design features that affect their magnitudes, and interrelationships among the errors. Coverage, nonresponse, sampling, measurement errors, interviewer effects, questionnaire effects, and mode of data collection effects are reviewed. Statistical and social science approaches to the error sources are compared.

Prerequisites: SurvMeth 612 and SurvMeth 623, SurvMeth 890.

SurvMeth 722 (Fall Term)                                                                                                                                     

Randomized and Nonrandomized Research Design

3 credits

There is a close linkage between design and analysis.  Design drives the analysis, and analysis reveals the design.  For randomized experiments, we shall cover a wide range of designs and their alternative analyses: completely randomized designs, randomized block designs, factorial designs, and repeated measures designs, etc.  For each of the designs,

examples will be provided and start with research questions, followed by hypothesis constructions, data layout, statistical modeling and analysis, SAS analysis of the examples, and conclusions from the analysis.  For nonrandomized designs, we will talk about quasi- experimental Designs, including control groups, pre-post tests, interrupted time series, regression discontinuity, etc.  Linear regression and logistic regression analyses using SAS will be introduced for data collected with randomized or nonrandomized designs.

Prerequisites: SURVMETH 685 and SURVMETH 686, or equivalents

SurvMeth 742 (Winter term)

Inference from Complex Samples

3 credits (Sampling & Estimation course)

Inference from complex sample survey data covers the theoretical and empirical properties of various variance estimation strategies (e.g., Taylor series approximation, replicated methods, and bootstrap methods for complex sample designs) and how to incorporate those methods into inference for complex sample survey data. Variance estimation procedures are applied to descriptive estimators and to analysis techniques such as regression, analysis of variance, and analysis of categorical data. Generalized variances and design effects are presented. Methods of model-based inference for complex sample surveys are also examined, and the results are contrasted with the design-based type of inference used as the standard in the course. The course will use real survey data to illustrate the methods discussed in class. Students will learn the use of computer software that takes account of the sample design in estimation. Students will carry out a research and analysis project, using techniques and skills learned during the course. A paper describing the student's research will be submitted at the end of the course, and each student will give a short presentation of his/her findings.

Prerequisites: Biostat 602 or Stat 511, SurvMeth 612, and SurvMeth 617.

SurvMeth 744 (Winter term)

Topics in Survey Methodology

3 credits (Sampling & Estimation course)

This course is an advanced course in selected topics in survey sampling. Topics to be covered include: estimation and imputation approaches, small area estimation, and sampling methods for rare populations. A selection of additional topics, chosen by the instructor, will also be covered. Examples of such additional topics include: sample designs for time and space, panel and rotating panel survey designs, maximizing overlap between samples, controlled selection and lattice sampling, sampling with probabilities proportionate to size without replacement, multiple frame sampling, adaptive cluster sampling, capture-recapture sampling, sampling for telephone surveys, sampling for establishment surveys, and measurement error models. Both applied and theoretical aspects of the topics will be examined.

Prerequisites: SurvMeth 625 - Applied Sampling. 

SurvMeth 745 (Fall Course)

Practical Tools for Designing and Weighting Samples

3 credits

This course is a statistical methods class appropriate for second year Master’s students and PhD students. The course will be a combination of hands-on applications and general review of the theory behind different approaches to sampling and weighting. Topics covered include:

- Sample size calculations using estimation targets based on relative standard error, margin of error, and power requirements;

- Use of mathematical programming to determine sample sizes needed to achieve estimation goals for a series of subgroups and analysis variables;

- Resources for designing area probability samples;

- Methods of sample allocation for multistage samples;

- Steps in weighting, including computation of base weights, nonresponse adjustments, and uses of auxiliary data;

- Nonresponse adjustment alternatives, including weighting cell adjustments, formation of cells using regression trees, and propensity score adjustments;

- Weighting via poststratification, raking, general regression estimation, and other types of calibration.


SurvMeth 746 (Fall Term)                                                                                                                                     

Applications of Statistical Modeling

3 credits

Advanced Statistical Modeling, designed for students on both the social science and statistical tracks for the two programs in survey methodology, will provide students with exposure to applications of more advanced statistical modeling tools for both substantive and methodological investigations that are not fully covered in other MPSM or JPSM courses. Modeling techniques to be covered include multilevel modeling (with an application to methodological studies of interviewer effects), structural equation modeling (with an application of latent class models to methodological studies of measurement error), classification trees (with an application to prediction of response propensity), and alternative models for longitudinal data (with an application to panel survey data from the Health and Retirement Study). Discussions and examples of each modeling technique will be supplemented with methods for appropriately handling complex sample designs when fitting the models. The class will focus on essential concepts, practical applications, and software, rather than extensive theoretical discussions.  

Prerequisites: SurvMeth 625 - Applied Sampling.

SurvMeth 760 (Winter term)

Survey Management

3 credits (Survey Management course)

This course describes modern practices in the administration of large-scale surveys. It reviews alternative management structures for large field organizations, supervisory and training regimens, handling of turnover, and multiple surveys with the same staff. Practical issues in budgeting of surveys are reviewed with examples from actual surveys. Scheduling of sequential activities in the design, data collection, and processing of data is described.

Prerequisites: None.

SurvMeth 890 (Fall term)

Doctoral Seminar I

3 credits

This is the first course in a two-term introduction to the integration of social science and statistical science approaches to the design, collection, and analysis of surveys. The seminar will focus on six to eight areas of statistical and methodological literature that have benefited from alternative approaches. Students demonstrate mastery of those literatures through critical review papers, ideas for extensions of the literature, and empirical projects related to research reviewed.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

SurvMeth 891 (Winter term)

Doctoral Seminar II

3 credits

This is the second course in a two-term seminar designed to develop skills in the identification of research problems, specification of hypotheses/theorems to extend current understanding of the field, and planning for original research. A common set of readings in four to six advanced research activities of the faculty are studied, with the faculty engaged in research discussing areas of potential innovation. Students present and critique oral and written proposals for research.

Prerequisites: SurvMeth 890 and permission of instructor.

SurvMeth 895 (Winter Term - 2016)

Special Seminars

1-3 credits

These special seminar courses address specific research problems currently under study by faculty members. The topics will be announced in the University Time Schedule each academic term.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of department.

SurvMeth 895.001

Envisioning the Survey Interview of the Future, 3 credits

Instructor:  Fred Conrad

Department Permission Required

SurvMeth 895.002

Small Area Estimation, 3 credits

Instructors:  Partha Lahiri

Department Permission Required

SurvMeth 895.003

Data Integration, 3 credits

Instructor:  Partha Lahiri

Department Permission Required

SurvMeth 899

Directed Research

1-3 credits

Directed research on a topic of the student's choice. An individual instructor must agree to direct such research, and the requirements are specified when approval is granted.

Prerequisites: Candidacy and permission of instructor.

SurvMeth 988

Advanced Seminars in Survey Methodology

1-5 credits; 1, 3 or 5 in the half-term. May be repeated for credit.

Laboratory for study of survey methodology practices and principles.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor.

SurvMeth 990


1-8 credits

Election for dissertation work by doctoral student not yet admitted as a candidate. Students doing dissertation work prior to achieving candidacy should register for SurvMeth 990 for that portion of their schedule spent on dissertation work.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. May be repeated.

SurvMeth 995


8 credits (4 in the half term)

Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral candidate. The defense of the dissertation (the final oral examination) must be held under a full term candidacy enrollment period. Students who have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. are required to register for SurvMeth 995 in any term when they are consulting with members of their dissertation committee or using the library or other facilities of the University. If the student is to be engaged in a period of study away from the University, the student should file a Certification for Detached Study in advance. Students doing dissertation work prior to achieving candidacy should register for SurvMeth 990 for that portion of their schedule spent on dissertation work.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. May be repeated.