Survey Research and Data Science

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Methodology
  • Application code SS-ME301
  • Starting TBC
  • Short course: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

Please note: This course will not be running as part of the 2021 programme. However, you may be interested in our confirmed courses.

Surveys remain an essential tool in the science of measurement. What we know about society is often based on surveys and they have the potential to transform our understanding. At the same time, the role of the survey is changing. In particular, survey research methods are adapting in order to harness the potential of technology.

This course will provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of survey research methods and the use of surveys in data science. It will focus on all aspects of the research process, from the design of surveys prior to data collection to the analysis of survey data and visualisation of results. As well as covering the fundamentals of survey research, we will also cover cutting-edge developments, including intersections between surveys and non-traditional forms of data.

Surveys can be used to study a wide variety of research questions. They allow researchers to measure attitudes, opinions, lifestyles and behaviours. They are also used in experiments or as part of mixed-method research designs. This course will show how surveys can be used to gain insights across a range of applications.

This course is ideal for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, early-career academic researchers, and researchers in the public, private or non-profit sector.

Session: TBC
Dates: TBC
Lecturers: Dr Ben Wilson and Dr Jack Cunliffe


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 300 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One individual project and one written examination

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


Participants should have a knowledge of quantitative research methods or introductory statistics, up to linear regression analysis.

In particular, the course will assume that participants have an understanding of statistical inference using t-tests and have prior experience of interpreting the results of multiple linear regression. We will review these topics briefly during the course.

It is also desirable that participants have some experience of using statistical software to analyse quantitative data.

Programme structure

The aim of this course is to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of survey research methods. It is intended for participants who plan to design and carry out their own survey, as well as those who need to analyse data from either their own, or from existing surveys.

The course will focus on the following two main objectives:

1. We will provide participants with a methodological framework that covers the entire survey process. This framework allows researchers to identify and avoid multiple sources of error. As a result, participants will be able to maximise the reliability and validity of their survey-based findings.

2. We will enable participants to develop the practical knowledge and statistical skills that are required to carry out high quality survey research.

The syllabus includes the following topics:

  • an overview of the survey process
  • sources of survey error
  • question design and question testing
  • choosing who to interview
  • methods of data collection
  • the psychology of survey response
  • statistical analysis of survey data
  • measurement and factor analysis
  • non-response and survey weights

Seminars will provide participants with an opportunity to improve their understanding of each of these topics, while simultaneously developing a range of practical and technical skills.

The course will include computer classes using the statistical software ‘Stata’. It will also provide participants with a broader knowledge of the literature on survey research methods.

Course outcomes

By the end of the course, participants will have a greater ability to critically evaluate survey-based research, including both academic and non-academic publications. In addition, the course will provide a dynamic environment in which to develop a range of practical and technical skills. This includes the ability to design high quality surveys, and the confidence to analyse and interpret complex survey data using different statistical approaches. The aim is that participants will continue to benefit from the course throughout their careers, whether as users or producers of research.


LSE’s Department of Methodology is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in research and teaching in the area of social science research methodology. The Department coordinates and provides a focus for methodological activities at the School, in particular in the areas of graduate student (and staff) training and of methodological research.

Through its graduate programmes, and the Department's provision of courses for research students from all parts of the School, the aim is to make the School the pre-eminent centre for methodological training in the social sciences.

On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s methodology faculty.

Reading materials

Groves, R. M., Fowler, F. J., Couper, M. P., Lepkowski, J. M., Singer, E. and Tourangeau, R. (2009). Survey Methodology. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

 *A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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