Political Survey Design

Political Survey Design

10th - 14th July, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM



Dr. Constanza Sanhueza is a lecturer in politics and international relations at the School of Politics and International Relations of the Australian National University and Editor of the Journal Representation. Prior to joining ANU, she worked as a research fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, at the Varieties of Democracy Institute at the University of Gothenburg, and at Sciences Po Paris. Her research uses different empirical methods, including representative surveys, survey experiments, expert surveys, and text analysis. 


Course Summary

Questionnaires are among the most common data collection methods that political researchers and other social scientists employ. This course introduces the principles of survey design and standard practices in the field. Practically oriented to initiate students to the design, administration, and analysis of surveys, it will cover the main aspects of survey methodology: key concepts and techniques; how design decisions affect empirical results; sampling and response maximization; questionnaire design gauging the impact of question wording; modes of data collection; and the basics of political survey data analysis. The course emphasizes learning and applying general insights as students work with concrete examples.


Learning outcomes

  1. Understand measurement in surveys and the concept of measurement error
  2. Critically assess sampling strategies based on target populations
  3. Identify best practice approaches to contacting and recruiting survey respondents
  4. Analyse survey data with reference to how it was sampled and collected
  5. Produce descriptive statistics and appropriate visualisations


Recommended pre-requisite understanding

Some understanding of R and statistical analysis. See Foundations of Statistical Analysis in Political Science.



Pew Research Center, 2020, Questionnaire design, Pew Charitable Trust, https://www.pewresearch.org/methods/u-s-survey-research/questionnaire-design, accessed 24/11/2020.

Groves, Robert, 1987, Research on survey data quality, Public Opinion Quarterly , 51(4), 156-172. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/poq/article-abstract/51/4_PART_2/S156/1826474?redirectedFrom=PDF

McAllister, Ian, Clive Bean, Rachel Gibson, Toni Makkai, Jill Sheppard, and Sarah Cameron, 2019, Australian Election Study, 2019: technical report, doi:10.26193/KMAMMW, ADA Dataverse, Canberra.

Date & time

Mon 10 Jul 2023, 9.30am




Updated:  16 May 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications