GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Sebastian E. Wenz
Tel: +49 221 47694-159

Administrative Coordination

Jacqueline Schüller
Tel: +49 0221 47694-160

Course 3: Designing and Implementing Web Surveys

Cologne/Unter Sachsenhausen 6-8
Course Duration
Mo: 10:00-17:30 CEST
Tu-We: 9:00-16:15 CEST
Th: 9:00-16:30 CEST
Fr: 9:00-14:30 CEST
General Topics:
Course Level:
Summer School
Software used:
Students: 550 €
Academics: 825 €
Commercial: 1650 €
Additional links
Lecturer(s): Melanie Revilla

About the lecturer - Melanie Revilla

Course description

Web surveys have emerged as one of the most popular methods of data collection. The facts that they can be quickly implemented and potentially at a low cost made them more and more popular. This transition to web surveys became even quicker since the Covid-19 pandemic started, due to the challenges to implement face-to-face surveys.
The increasing prevalence of web surveys brings both new challenges and new opportunities. This course offers practical guidance on the design and implementation of web surveys. It delves into aspects crucial for ensuring survey representativeness and data quality, covering topics such as sampling methods, answer scales available in web surveys and their potential impact on the results, layout and programming decisions, and paradata utilization. Special emphasis is placed on mobile participation, disparities between smartphone and PC responses, and leveraging innovative techniques to enhance data quality, including the use of new scales (e.g., emojis), of requests for sharing new data types (e.g., visual data), and data fusion with other sources (e.g., digital traces).
In the lab sessions, you will have the hands-on opportunities to apply the concepts learned in the lectures. In particular, you will program and implement a short survey using LimeSurvey and/or Google Forms and work with existing web (para)data.
For additional details on the course and a day-to-day schedule, please download the full-length syllabus.

Target group

You will find the course useful if:
  • you are planning to design your own web survey,
  • you are working with data from existing web surveys (e.g., data from existing online panels),
  • you want to better interpret results from web surveys that you are reading in publications,
  • you want to learn about the new developments in web surveys.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you will:
  • understand the different types of web surveys that exist and their main advantages and limitations,
  • have the basic knowledge to implement your own (good) web surveys,
  • have the capacity to evaluate the pros and cons of various web questionnaire features,
  • be able to use critically web survey data,
  • know about new opportunities in web surveys and their associated challenges.
Organizational structure of the course
The course will be divided into lectures (around 3h per day, divided into 2 or 3 sessions) and lab sessions (also around 3h per day, divided into 2 or 3 sessions) including demonstrations and hands-on experience.
You should bring a laptop to class in order to work on the assignments. You will use LimeSurvey and/or Google Forms for programming a short web survey and will work with some existing web survey data (including paradata). Both individual and small group work will be possible. You are encouraged to bring your own web survey projects to class if you are working on one. The instructor will be available for individual and group consultations and to support work on assignments.


  • Some familiarity with surveys and questionnaire design (in general, not specific to web surveys) is useful.
Software and hardware requirements
You will need to bring a laptop computer to successfully participate in this course.
We will use LimeSurvey and Google Forms to program short web surveys. We will also use R to do some simple data processing, but no previous experience in R is need.
Please install R ( and RStudio ( on your device before the course starts. These are free and open source.

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