Guide to Course Selection

Summer Institute courses are offered in one-, three-, four-, and eight-week formats. Participants can tailor course elections to individual time constraints and interests. One-week courses give an overview of a methodology topic, and include readings and homework. Three, four and eight-week courses provide more in-depth coverage of a topic, include readings, homework, and examinations, and often provide participants with an opportunity to practice survey techniques.

The Summer Institute offers courses on (1) research design and sample selection, (2) measurement, (3) qualitative methods in survey research design, (4) data collection, and (5) analysis. Some courses span several areas — Introduction to Survey Research Techniques provides an overview of the entire survey process, from design through analysis. Most courses are limited to one of these five subject areas.

All courses are graduate level classes at an accelerated pace.  You will need to keep this in mind when making your course selection to ensure you are allowing enough time for each class requirement.

Background and Course Elections

Participants new to survey research or with little statistical background find Introduction to Survey Research Techniques an appropriate course. They also find Questionnaire Design will provide helpful perspectives on the survey process. Participants with both statistical and survey backgrounds elect courses across program areas. For instance, participants interested in learning more about measurement and collection of survey data choose Data Collection Methods and Questionnaire Design. They also find several of the one-week overview courses very useful as well. 

And participants with stronger statistical backgrounds (at least two graduate courses in statistical methods) can choose survey sampling courses (Methods of Survey Sampling and Analysis Methods of Complex Sample Survey Data) or courses on more advanced topics in survey analysis  (Multi-level Analysis of Survey Data, and Building and Testing Structural Equation Models).

The Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians

Widespread demand exists for statisticians trained in both the theory and practice of survey sampling. The scarcity is most critical in less developed countries, where social and economic surveys are needed to plan, assess, and interpret the rapid changes of developing societies. Sample surveys are used to estimate natural resources; to estimate the production and demand for goods; to assess human resources and problems; to obtain data on demography, health, and fertility; to measure community attitudes and development; and to evaluate the success of community projects and other social programs. Skilled statisticians are needed to perform key functions in applying mathematical statistics to practical social problems. Although experts from outside can and should help, the need must be met chiefly, and eventually, through proper training of local talent.

The Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians (SPSS) is offered as part of the Summer Institute. The program combines university classes with practical application in research methods. It is especially useful for statisticians studying at other universities, which have few courses during the summer. The program is designed chiefly, but not exclusively, for statisticians from less developed countries who want to aim their careers at survey sampling in their own countries. We have graduates in over 100 countries.

Survey sampling is a technical field that combines statistical theory with applications to complex practical problems. The ideal candidate holds an MA or BA degree, with high standing and special recommendations. The major field of study should have been in mathematics or statistics, perhaps combined with an applied field, such as physics, engineering, agronomy, demography, economics, or sociology. He or she works in a central statistical office, research institute, or university; has read in statistics and survey sampling; has done some practical work in statistics or survey sampling; and now wants to get advanced training that combines theory and practice. He or she is a motivated individual and is in a position to apply our sampling training to practical and important problems in his own country. The program is not designed for merely theoretical learning and academic advancement.

The SPSS is an eight-week program. It consists of three courses: a methods course, a course on the analysis of complex sample survey data, and a hands-on daily workshop. Students enrolled in these three courses are considered Fellows in the Program. The methods and the analysis courses may be taken without being a Fellow. However, the workshop cannot be taken alone. Fellows receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program.

To apply for the Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians (SPSS), please complete the SPSS application and submit it with a completed Summer Institute application and your resume no later than March 31, 2017.  Please be advised the deadline for the Kish Fellowship application is February 12, 2017.

One-Week Programs

The Summer Institute offers a number of one-week courses that appeal to those only able to spend a week or two in study. Some one-week courses are offered in "pairs", one in the morning and another in the afternoon during the same week. This scheduling allows participants to take two courses in one week of study.

Some of the one-week course are exclusively about qualitative data collection methods and how those methods can be best utilized in the survey process. These courses are concentrated in July, allowing participants to take four courses on these subjects in a four week period. 

For days, times, course and section numbers, see Course Descriptions.