Empirical Research Methods

Tom Piazza
Survey Research Center
University of California, Berkeley

This seminar provides an overview of the survey process, the many steps involved, and the many potential sources of error. After reviewing the many steps involved in conducting surveys, we will spend some time discussing the sampling process in more detail -- how to conceptualize the process, what the different types of sampling are, and what the consequences are for the precision of the results. Then we will focus on the design of questionnaires -- the pros and cons of various types of questions and common errors to avoid.

Materials and Podcast:
Dr. Piazza has made available the materials distributed at the workshop, including an excellent bibliography. These notes and materials, which provide a superb summary of the issues covered in the workshop, are available for download as follows:

  1. Overview of the Survey Process
  2. Introduction to Survey Sampling
  3. General Comments on Questionnaire Design
  4. Retrospective Surveys - Problems and Solutions
  5. The Steps of Survey Research - Procedures and Potential Errors
  6. Short Bibliography on Survey Research