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Designing Surveys

Designing Surveys
A Guide to Decisions and Procedures

Third Edition

A step-by-step guide to conducting surveys, with an emphasis on critical thinking and views on critically assessing surveys conducted by others

© 2014 | 440 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This book is a comprehensive guide to the whole survey research process. Much more than a practical 'how-to' guide, the book presents the material in a social science context which is both thorough yet accessible. It provides a timeline and follows the steps of research including preparing for, designing, and implementing survey research, and includes a section on survey ethics. After reading this book, students are well equipped to conduct their own surveys and, just as importantly, critically assess surveys done by others. The Third Edition brings the book up to date with the latest developments in online tools.
1. Survey Practice
2. Survey Error
3. Planning the Survey: The Hierarchy of Decisions
4. Data Collection I: Selecting a Method
5. Sampling I: Concepts of Representation and Sample Quality
6. Sampling II: Population Definition and Frames
7. Sampling III: Sample Size and Sample Design
Methodology Appendix 1: Using Models in Sampling  
8. Questionnaire Development I: Measurement Error and Question Writing
9. Questionnaire Development II: Questionnaire Structure
Methodology Appendix 2: Questionnaire Evaluation Workshop  
10. Questionnaire Development III: Pretesting
Methodology Appendix 3: Cognitive Interviewing Workshop  
11. Data Collection II: Controlling Error in Data Collection
Methodology Appendix 4: An Overview of Organization Surveys  
12. Post-Survey Statistical Adjustments and the Methodology Report
Appendix A: UM Undergraduate Student Survey
Appendix B: Maryland Crime Survey
Appendix C: AAPOR Code of Professional Ethics
Appendix D: Internet Resources

“This book has much to recommend it. The authors succeed in pulling off some difficult balancing acts. They manage to introduce a good deal of material in a concise package. They cover key topics in practical, accessible terms, but not in simple cookbook terms. The entire survey research process is covered in a way that helps students appreciate how steps in the process are integrated. Students will understand that survey research is research, not just a series of tasks.”

Julio Borquez
University of Michigan – Dearborn

“Many of our students do not have prior methods experience. They need a text that brings them into the methodology of the field and this one is just right. The concrete examples are especially helpful. Students tell me that this text is one that they keep and use over and over. It is the kind of text that empowers them to walk through the steps of doing their research.”

Brenda D. Phillips
Oklahoma State University

“Without fail, my students are very interested in the practical aspects of survey design and implementation. They want to understand, quickly and simply, the workflow of a survey project, how many observations they need to answer their research questions, and how much it is going to cost. Not surprisingly, then, I find the applied focus of the text very helpful. The coverage of sampling and power calculations for hypothesis testing are unique strengths. The text is accessible, practical, and concise.”

Chadwick L. Menning
Ball State University

Designing Surveys is well written and is intended for novices engaged in designing a (student) survey for the first time as well as for those with some knowledge of and experience with surveys. I would add a third group of potential readers to the list: more experienced researchers who feel the need to update and refresh their knowledge.”

                                                                —Edith D. de Leeuw, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Edith D. de Leeuw
University of Amsterdam
Edith D. de Leeuw

I have no hesitation in recommending this book as a preferred course text at post-graduate level or for in-house training.  It’s far superior to anything else on the market and sits nicely between Andres (2012) and Marsden and Wright (2010).  Whereas some  books tend to be more academic (and sometimes based on limited, if any, serious experience of actually doing surveys) this book is written by people who do surveys for a living, one of them for forty years. With its combination of accumulated wisdom and narrative skill, it’s easy (and fulfilling) to read, and you can barely see the joins. It has been written by very experienced fellow professionals used to dealing with operational practicalities, spiced with (just enough, but not too much) theory and thankfully few equations (formulae are immediately off-putting for students in sociology and similar areas).

John F Hall
Journeys in Survey Research

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1 Survey Practice

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