Guide to Course Selection

The following resource may assist you in selecting courses. 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. Please view 2024 course schedule for current offerings.

We encourage all participants to use a web camera and a headset. We ask participants to refrain from using built-in web cams and speakers on their desktops or laptops, if possible. We know from our experience in previous online courses that this will reduce the quality of video and audio transmission and therefore will decrease the overall learning experience for all participants in the program.

Research Design and Sample Selection


Qualitative Methods in Survey Research Design

Data Collection


Introduction to the Field

Background and Course Elections

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. The workshops are not at the graduate level class pace and do not require the time commitment needed as the graduate level courses offered in the Summer Institute.

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.

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).

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 2024 Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians (SPSS), please look for the SPSS application to be available soon.