CCSR Short Courses in Data Analysis and On-line Survey Methods

The Centre for Census and Survey Research’s short course programme (www.ccsr.ac.uk) at the University of Manchester continues in the spring. A small number of places are still available. See www.ccsr.ac.uk/courses/list

Planning and Managing Social Research – 18th April

In recent years, evidence has gained more prominence as a basic building block for policy making. In all cases the use of secondary data or administrative data is recommended as an adjunct to good policy research. Impact evaluation methods are examined in the course along with traditional social research methods such as: interviewing, interpretation of texts, secondary data subsetting, and the interpretation of patterns in graphical diagrams.  We offer a summary of the research project management methods, and a review of how to commission research. The morning is spent on general research design issues and qualitative research, and the afternoon on mixed methods research design and the interpretation and use of secondary data / graphics.

Using Panels for Online Research – 19th April          

Web access panels or opt-in panels have been popular since the widespread adoption of browser-based Internet access. Most of these are based on non-probability recruitment methods. The goal is typically to gather a very large and diverse pool of volunteers, from which selected groups of panel members can be invited to specific surveys. While widely used by market researchers, such panels are also popular among academics and non-profit researchers. However, a growing number of recent studies have raised questions about the utility of these panels for the range of purposes to which they are put. This course will present an overview of the different approaches to Web access panels, with a focus on the users of such panels. The course will review the literature and present evidence on the advantages and disadvantages of using such panels for research, relative to using alternative approaches to survey data collection. Controversies regarding the inferential value or limits of such panels will be reviewed.

Using Mixed Data Collection Modes for Surveys – 20th April

Given the declining response rates and increasing cost of surveys over the past several years, researchers are increasingly turning to mixed-mode surveys. Mixed-mode surveys also offer the promise of reducing measurement error or improving data quality for certain types of items. Specifically, mixed-mode surveys attempt to combine the benefits of reduced cost and improved data quality associated with self-administered methods (e.g., Web and mail) with the improved representational qualities (especially coverage and nonresponse error reduction) associated with interviewer-administered methods (face-to-face or telephone). A wide variety of different mixed-mode methods have been evaluated and deployed. This course offers an overview of the different approaches to mixed-mode survey design, presents a summary of what is known and not known about mixing methods, and offers a set of guidelines to help the researcher make decisions about mixing modes of data collection.

There are a number of other courses available as part of the CCSR Short Course programme. For more information and to book please go to www.ccsr.ac.uk/courses/list

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