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The Practice of Survey Research

The Practice of Survey Research
Theory and Applications

May 2015 | 360 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Unique in its integration of theory and application, this comprehensive book explains survey design, implementation, data analysis, and continuing data management, including how to effectively incorporate the latest technology (e.g., SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics). Data management and analysis are demonstrated and explained through statistical software including SPSS, SAS, and STATA. In addition to helping students develop a complete understanding of survey research from start to finish, the authors also address the challenges and issues of specific disciplines.

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Part I: Before the Survey
Chapter 1: Introduction to Survey Research
What is survey research?

How do you know if a survey is good?

Surveys about Teachers: Are They Good Teachers?

Applications of Survey Research

Technology and Survey Research

The Ethics of Survey Research

Key Decisions about Survey Research: What’s Ahead

Part II: Questionnaire Design
Chapter 2: Types of Surveys
Omnibus Surveys


Importance of Proper Training of Interviewers

Types of Surveys

Chapter 3: The Survey Instrument
The Cover Letter

The Survey Instrument

Appearance, Formatting, and Design

Chapter 4: Survey Question Construction
Concept Measurement: Traits, Assessments, and Sentiments

Complex Concepts Question Development

Responses to Questions

Measurement Error

Chapter 5: Validity and Reliability


Types of Reliability and Estimation


Chapter 6: Pre-testing and Pilot Testing

Pilot Testing

Pre-test and Pilot Test Limitations

Part III: Implementing a Survey
Chapter 7: Selecting a Sample: Probability Sampling
Sampling Terminology

Sampling Theory

Probability Sampling Techniques

Chapter 8: Non-Probability Sampling and Sampling Hard to Find Populations
Convenience Sampling

Quota Sampling

Purposive Sampling

Sampling Hard to Find Populations

Chapter 9: Improving Response Rates and Retention
Response Rates and Non-response Errors

Non-response Bias

Attrition in Panel Studies

Methods to Increase Participant Contact and Participant Cooperation

Chapter 10: Technologies to Develop and Implement Surveys
Mail Survey Administration

Computer-assisted Interviewing

Post-survey Data Entry and Data Cleaning Technology

Contracting with a Research Center to Conduct the Survey

Chapter 11: Data Collection
The Self-administered Cross-sectional Mailed Survey

The Self-administered Longitudinal Panel Mailed Survey

Interviewer-administered Surveys

Self-administered Web Surveys

Comparing Survey Types

Storage Needs

Part IV: Post-Survey Data Management and Analysis
Chapter 12: Data Entry
Data Entry


Chapter 13: Data Cleaning
Simple Cross-sectional Data Cleaning

Cosmetic Cleaning

Skip Patterns

Multiple-response Questions, Other Specify and Open-ended Questions

Cleaning for Diagnostics

Interviewer Effects/Mode Effects

Cleaning Longitudinal Data

The Codebook

Chapter 14: Data Analysis for a Policy Report
Policy Reports

Descriptive Statistics

Analysis for a Policy Report


The Report Write-up

Chapter 15: More Advanced Data Analysis
Explanatory Research Questions

Journal Article Format

Regression Analysis

Addressing Missing Data

OLS Regressions of the Positive Relocation Scale

Creating Tables for the Journal Article and Writing-up the Results

Chapter 16: Data Archiving
Seeking External Funding for Your Survey Project

Archiving Original and Final Data

Data Format

Archiving and Making Data Publicly Available

Survey Administration checklist

Survey Design and Organization Checklist

Writing Good Questions Checklist

Piloting or Pre-Testing the Survey Checklist

Choosing a Sample Checklist

Improving Response Rates Checklist



Companion Website
The companion website features data and syntax examples from Chapters 14 and 15 in all three of the main statistical software packages—SAS, SPSS, and STATA—so you can follow along as you study these chapters.

“Other survey research texts read as a dry report of what survey research is. This text reads as a personable text that walks the novice researcher through the survey research process, including all of the details considered by a seasoned survey researcher.”

Carol A. Angell, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

“[T]he book is organized in a very strategic and hands-on manner that will train students to think, plan, and implement a project like an experienced social scientific scholar using survey methods.”

Kenneth C. Yang, University of Texas at El Paso

“The text is very well written, clear and easy to understand. It highlights main concerns throughout the survey research process.”

Silvia K. Bartolic, University of British Columbia

“This textbook covers all of the important topics in survey research and does so at a level appropriate for advanced undergraduates.”

Richard E. Adams, Kent State University
Key features


  • The depth of coverage of data management helps readers develop a strong foundation for their survey research.
  • The data analysis chapters include write-ups for policy reports and articles to demonstrate how to interpret and use the data to communicate findings.
  • Real-life research examples throughout the text demonstrate concepts in action.
  • Samples of the important checklists that survey researchers use to make sure they have addressed all the decisions that need to be made to provide readers with models for their own research.
  • Ethics Corner sections discuss ethical issues specific to the chapter to demonstrate the types of ethical decisions and dilemmas that come up throughout the survey process.
  • Key terms and critical thinking questions at the end of each chapter help readers master the material.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 6

Chapter 13

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