GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

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

Administrative Coordination

Angelika Ruf
Tel: +49 221 47694-162

Course 1: Questionnaire Design

Prof. Dr. Marek Fuchs

Date: 03.08 - 07.08.2020 ics-file

Location: Online via Zoom

About the lecturer - Prof. Dr. Marek Fuchs

Course description

[This is a 24 hour class.]
Briefly speaking, the quality of survey answers provided by respondents can only be as good as the questions being asked. Thus, an effective questionnaire is a key component of a survey contributing to overall data quality. In addition to an overview of theoretical principles underlying questionnaire design this course particularly aims at providing evidence-based practical advice on how to design good survey questions and questionnaires. Based on field-experimental studies evaluating various aspects of questionnaire design participants will acquire state of the art knowledge concerning questionnaire design. The course offers the opportunity to apply these competencies under the supervision of the lecturer in group exercises and assignments. The course will strengthen participants' ability to design effective survey questions and to integrate them into a meaningful questionnaire.
A detailed syllabus for this course is available for download here.


Target group

Participants will find the course useful if they:
  • plan to or are about to conduct a survey;
  • would like to supplement their initial experience in designing questionnaires with practical advice based on a sound theoretical basis concerning the underlying mechanisms.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course participants will:
  • have an overview concerning the various components of survey data quality in general and questionnaire quality in particular;
  • understand the cognitive processes underlying survey measurement for the various survey modes;
  • be able to design simple survey questions of various types and to combine them in an integrated survey instrument.
    Organizational Structure of the Course
    This is a five-day course with a total amount of 24 hours of virtual class time. Participants can expect a mix of interactive teaching (3 hours per day), exercises, and opportunity for individual consultation (2 hours per day). Participants can either bring their own project that they want to use for the assignments on or they are provided with literature from two substantive areas to choose a topic for their assignments. Additional time of 1-2 hours a day has to be scheduled for preparation, further reading and desk work.


    Basic knowledge in quantitative social science research methods is required; basic knowledge concerning survey design and data quality is advisable. Participants not familiar with the total survey error framework are encouraged to consider the preparatory reading mentioned at the end of this syllabus. There are no statistical prerequisites.
    Software and hardware requirements:
    For performing the practical exercises in this course, course participants will need a laptop or desktop computer with an office suite or word processor installed.

    Recommended readings