A Companion to Survey Research provides a critical overview and guide to survey methods. Rather than a set of formulas, survey design is understood as a craft where the translation of research questions into a questionnaire, sample design and data collection strategy is based on understanding how respondents answer questions and their willingness to complete a survey.
Following an account of the invention of survey research in the 1930s, a synthesis of research on question design is followed by a practical guide to designing a questionnaire. Chapters on sampling, which deal with the statistical basis of survey sampling and practical design issues, are followed by extensive discussions of survey pretesting and data collection. The book concludes with a discussion of the extent and implications of falling response rates.
This book is written for researchers, analysts and policy makers who want to understand the survey data they use, for researchers and students who want to conduct a survey, and for anyone who wants to understand contemporary survey research.
Chapter 5: Applied Sample Design
Applied Sample Design
The statistics of sampling are necessary but not sufficient to answer the basic questions about a sample design: Is a probability sample really necessary? What kind of sample and how large a sample are needed? And how does one compromise between more precise estimates of characteristics of the entire population versus subgroups? While these are fundamentally statistical questions, sample design is almost always constrained by cost and by the many different cultures of survey research that establish norms for credible research. Also, there is almost no upper limit on the size of the best sample. There is hardly any field of research where a substantially larger sample will not open up new questions about subgroups and the detailed shape of relationships between ...