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.

The Future of Survey Research

In 1995, Floyd Fowler could reasonably argue that ‘the design of survey questions is the most fertile current methodological area for improving survey research’ (p. vii). No longer so. Whatever the limitations of sample and questionnaire design, respondents' ability to answer questions and analysis of surveys with measurement error and missing data, the methodological problem of this age is declining response rates. As the 1990 founding date of The International Workshop on Household Survey Nonresponse shows, concern about non-response is nothing new, but it has become far more serious since about 2000. The nature and magnitude of the problems are a function of the survey sponsor, topic and population, and there is international variation, but the decline is still widespread ...

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