The Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques is a teaching program of the Survey Research Center, at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. The Institute is located on the central campus of the University of Michigan at 426 Thompson Street in Ann Arbor.

The Survey Research Center

The Survey Research Center was established at the University of Michigan in 1946 to interact effectively with all parts of the University and to perform five major functions:

  1. Provide a well-trained staff and research capability for conducting surveys on economic and social problems
  2. Conduct methodological research for the improvement and development of survey procedures
  3. Help in the integration of the social sciences by providing facilities for interdisciplinary research on social problems
  4. Foster theoretical advancement in the social sciences based on new data from interdisciplinary research
  5. Provide graduate training in all phases of survey methodology

The 71st Annual Summer Institute

The mission of the Summer Institute is to provide rigorous and high quality graduate training in all phases of survey research. The program teaches state-of-the-art practice and theory in the design, implementation, and analysis of surveys. The Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques has presented courses on the sample survey since the summer of 1948, and has offered such courses every summer since. Graduate-level courses through the Program in Survey Methodology will be offered in two consecutive four-week sessions, from June 4 through June 29 and from July 2 through July 27. There are a number of one and three week courses, as well, that may be elected in each session.

The Summer Institute uses the sample survey as the basic instrument for the scientific measurement of human activity. It presents sample survey methods in courses designed to meet the educational needs of those specializing in social and behavioral research such as professionals in business, public health, natural resources, law, medicine, nursing, social work, and many other domains of study.

There is no widely accepted definition of what constitutes a sample survey. There are several characteristics, though, that are widely accepted features. Sample surveys have carefully drawn samples of subjects from well-defined populations. They collect factual information and subjective attitudes from the sample subjects. The results are quantifiably summarized through estimation and analysis of associations among collected measures.

Because the survey techniques used in many Summer Institute courses have a statistical basis, participants in most cases must have a working knowledge of concepts and procedures in elementary statistics. These include measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability distributions and their properties, product-moment correlations, tests of significance, and the analysis of variance. For participants lacking these prerequisites, introductory courses are offered on basic statistical concepts.

For the participant with minimum survey experience, participation in the Summer Institute should be considered a fulltime activity. If possible, the entire eight weeks should be reserved for Summer Institute classes and activities, exclusive of outside work obligations and additional University courses. For those participating for a short period, say in a one or three week period, reading, homework, and class participation are fulltime activities as well.