Survey design

Methodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

ECTS: 1,5
Number of sessions: 2
Hours per session: 4

Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • € 300,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information


Telephone: +31 (0)10 4082607

In the academic year 2023-2024 this course will take place online

Session 1
September 28 (Thursday) 2023
Online (Teams)

Session 2
October 5 (Thursday) 2023
Online (Teams)


In this course you will learn how to design a quantitative survey. A survey is one of the most important and widely used quantitative data collection tools. It enables researchers to collect data about the backgrounds, behaviours and attitudes of relatively large samples of respondents in an efficient and structured way. Collected data can be subsequently assessed through statistical methods.

Entry level

This course is designed for people who have no or little experience with survey design. This course is for instance not suitable for people who already did a Master or Research Master with a course on survey design, or for people who already have experience with making a quantitative survey.


Learning how to design a survey is of great importance for everyone (from all disciplines) with an interest in quantitative research, especially researchers who are planning to collect data themselves.

Please note that this course is about survey design, not about data analysis. Although we will discuss how you can prepare collected data for further analysis, we will not discuss how you can do actual analyses. Please find various courses on quantitative data analysis in our course guide (here).

Working method

This course comprises a mix of lectures, exercises, discussions and reflections. Participants will learn about all important theoretical and practical aspects of survey design.

Learning objectives

After this course, you will:

  • Know what a survey is and when to use it
  • Know how to ask questions and present a survey to respondents
  • Be able to evaluate survey questions and a survey’s structure
  • Know where and how to find respondents

Session descriptions

Session 1: The methodology and design of a survey

In the first session you will learn about the fundamental methodological aspects of a quantitative survey (in relation to other approaches and tools for data collection) as well as how a survey is designed for a particular research purpose. We will also discuss different ways of phrasing survey questions and how to avoid issues regarding validity, reliability, sensitivy, non-response and memory.

Session 2: Collecting and preparing data

The second session discusses the presentation / structure of a survey and how you can evaluate the clarity and functionality of a survey. We will also discuss how you can administer a survey, in particular with the program Qualtrics.

In the two sessions we will go through the full survey design process. Participants will be invited to develop a survey of their own, preferably for their own research.

Note for if the course takes place offline, on campus: We will do exercises in both sessions. Some of these exercises require or can be done more efficiently with a laptop, so please bring one (fully charged) with you.

About the instructor

Dr. Fadi Hirzalla is the Graduate School senior lecturer and methodology consultant. He specialises in quantitative and qualitative methods and methodology, next to his substantive interests in citizenship and new media, with a particular focus on intercultural relations and young people. Prior to joining the Graduate School, he worked at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University.