Questionnaire Design

Institution: see Organisers & Acknowledgements

Programme of study: International Research Workshop

Lecturer: Dr. Timo Lenzner (Gesis – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)

Date: Monday, 29/09/14 – Wednesday, 01/10/14 from 14.30-18.00 h

Max. number of participants: 20

Credit Points: 5 CP for participating in the whole IRWS

Language of instruction: English


The objective of this course is to give participants a thorough grounding in the psychological processes involved in answering survey questions and to introduce them to principles that can be applied to write effective survey questions. It covers the general principles of questionnaire design, question wording and construction of answer formats, special issues faced in writing factual, attitudinal and sensitive questions, and an introduction to various methods of questionnaire pretesting. Sessions combine lectures with practical exercises and discussion.

Please note that the course does not cover the psychometric principles of item or scale development. The course does not require any previous knowledge.

Recommended literature and pre-readings:

  • Krosnick, J. A. & Presser, S. (2010). Question and Questionnaire Design. In P. V. Marsden & J. D. Wright (Eds.), Handbook of Survey Research (2nd ed.) (pp. 263-313). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Fowler, Floyd J., Jr. and Carol Cosenza (2008). “Writing effective survey questions”, in: De Leeuw, Edith D., Joop J. Hox and Don A. Dillman (eds.), The international handbook of survey methodology, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 136-160. (
  • Schaeffer, Nora Cate and Stanley Presser. 2003. “The Science of Asking Questions.” Annual Review of Sociology, 29: 65-88.

You have to register for the 8th International Research Workshop to participate in this course.