´╗┐´╗┐ GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Sabina Haveric
Tel: +49 (0221) 47694 - 166

Administrative Coordination

Angelika Ruf
Tel: +49 221 47694-162

Course 12: Factorial Survey Design

, Prof. Dr. Katrin Auspurg

Date: 19.08 - 23.08.2019 ics-file

Location: Cologne

About the lecturer - Prof. Dr. Katrin Auspurg

Course description

The factorial survey (“vignette analysis”) is a method that integrates multi-factorial experimental set-ups into surveys. Respondents are asked to evaluate hypothetical situations, objects or persons. By systematically varying attributes of the descriptions it is possible to determine their influence on respondents' stated attitudes, decisions, or choices. The experimental variation of stimuli allows estimating the influence of each attribute on the evaluation; the factorial survey is therefore an appropriate instrument to test theoretical predictions. As the experiment is embedded in a survey questionnaire, it is additionally possible to reach heterogeneous sample populations. This course gives a theoretical and practical overview of factorial survey methods. Participants will get practical insights into all single steps necessary to design factorial survey experiments: (1) construction of vignettes, (2) selection of an experimental design, (3) drafting and programming of questionnaires (for online surveys as well as paper and pencil surveys), (4) data management, and (5) data analysis techniques (such as multilevel analyses, estimations of willingness to pay). Participants may select a research question related to their own research for practical exercises. For most practical analyses the statistical software package Stata will be used (basic prior knowledge needed). For setting up experimental designs and programming of questionnaires we use the software packages SAS and QuestBack (no prior knowledge is needed). The method is NOT connected to (confirmatory or explorative) factor analysis. Moreover, the course does not include anchoring and video vignettes.
For a full length syllabus of this course, please click here.


Target group

Participants will find the course useful if they:
  • want to learn about survey-experimental designs to study attitudes or decisions;
  • have initial ideas for their own research questions that could be realized by means of a factorial survey;
  • plan to conduct a factorial survey in their projects;
  • want to deepen their knowledge of experimental designs and quantitative statistical methods;
  • want to learn how to analyze data from experimental designs and factorial surveys and evaluate the quality of such data.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course participants will:
  • have learned and discussed the features, typical applications, advantages, and shortcomings of factorial survey methods;
  • have acquired practical insights into all single steps that are needed to set up factorial survey designs, to implement them into (computer assisted) questionnaires, to analyze resulting data, and report on results;
  • be familiar with practical methods to evaluate data quality gained by factorial survey methods;
  • have gained some insights into related experimental survey methods such as conjoint analyses and choice experiments;
  • be able to apply factorial survey methods on their own.


  • participants should be familiar with the statistical software package Stata before the course starts (i.e., command structure, do-files, ados);
  • participants should have basic knowledge of questionnaire design and experimental methods;
  • methodical knowledge of data management and quantitative data analyses (e.g. linear regression techniques, coding of variables, merging of data sets).
Course participants will not need to bring a laptop computer for this course as the course takes place in a computer lab.

More Information