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Questionnaire Design and Management

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    Håkon Sparre

NOVA PhD course of 3 ECTS, organised by Prof. Ulf Emanuelson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Course dates and location: 14-18 May 2018, in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Course Description
Questionnaires have become a major source for data in epidemiological studies. One reason is the increased interest in qualitative and sociological methods to explain the spread of diseases. Another reason is that it has become increasingly easy to construct and distribute questionnaires and carry out follow-up to improve compliance. The competence in designing such studies has not increased in the same way. This has serious impacts on the internal and external validity of these studies. Problems arise because questions are not properly framed and because response rates are low and not representative of the target population, but also because questionnaires are very prone for having missing information which makes multivariable analyses very difficult. This course will tackle two key issues related to the effective use of questionnaires, namely all the key elements of questionnaire design and management as well as methods for evaluating and dealing with item nonresponse with an emphasis on the use of multiple imputation of missing observations.

Items covered:

  • Questionnaire design
  • Psychology of survey response
  • Evaluating survey questions
  • Data collection methods
  • Communication with respondents
  • Respondent motivation
  • Survey ethics
  • Dealing with missing data
  • Patterns of item nonresponse and options for analyses
  • Mechanisms of missing data
  • Simple and multiple imputation models
  • Multiple imputation – chained equations, building the imputation model

Programme Outline
Hours 8:30 to 16:30 hrs.

  • Day 1 - 2: Questionnaire design and data collection
  • Day 3 - 4: Missing data and imputation
  • Day 5: Seminar with student presentations and discussion

Work on student project and presentations will take place during days 1 - 4

Pre-Campus Assignments
A pre-campus assignment to draft a questionnaire on a given topic will be given. The draft should be submitted at least one week before the start of the course. A reading list of literature on questionnaire design and item nonresponse issues will be provided pre-campus.

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, participants will:

  • understand the principles of questionnaire design
  • understand the psychological basics of respondent communication
  • know how to construct and conduct questionnaire studies with a high internal and external validity
  • understand the background for and consequences of missing observations in questionnaire studies
  • know when and how to use multiple imputation methods to handle missing observations

Evaluation Elements
Pass/fail evaluation will be based on: (i) satisfactory completion of a pre-campus assignment; (ii) active participation during the campus course; (iii) completion of participant’s own presentation on the last day of the course.

Pedagogical Approach
The course will consist of a 5-day didactic module with a mixture of lectures, exercises and journal discussions. An assignment will be given where students should apply questionnaire design topics covered during the course. The students will present their assignments at a seminar during the last day of the course.

Estimated Workload
10 hours seminar / discussions
20 hours lectures
10 hours other (exercises/computer practicals)
10 hours independent work during the course
40 hours independent work, pre-course assignments

Prerequisite Knowledge
Doctoral student experience, in animal science, veterinary medicine or related subjects, or participant in a residency program in veterinary science. A basic knowledge in biostatistics (including linear and logistic regression) and epidemiology is helpful.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Please fill in the online application form. The course organizer will contact applicants shortly after the application deadline of 2 Mar. to confirm the study place. Please note that maximum 30 students can be accepted to the course. Priority will be given to PhD students and veterinary students enrolled in residency programmes in the international and national specialization programmes at NOVA and BOVA affiliated units.

All reservations and payments of accommodation will be handled by the participants, but rooms have been reserved at a nearby hotel, with prices ranging from €53 (single) to €78 (triple) per night.

Other Costs

Course fee (€)

Lunch, breaks, course dinner

NOVA PhD-students*



BOVA PhD-students*



Other PhD-students*






*Or diplomate students.

Travel costs are not covered by NOVA for any participant. However, we will arrange, and pay for, transportation from Vilnius (and Kaunas) airport to the hotel and the return travel.

Published 4. January 2018 - 15:18 - Updated 16. January 2018 - 11:01