Survey research is a quantitative research method. To pursue a career in survey research, you need training that will make you comfortable using and understanding data.
The exact focus can be quite diverse. Social science fields like Political Science, Sociology, and Economics provide a variety of opportunities to use public opinion survey measurements. Marketing research classes in business schools use survey data to study consumers. Journalists are perhaps the fastest growing sector in the polling community; all of the major national media are involved in survey data collection so they may better serve their readers or viewers.
Here are some ideas for educational options that will prepare you for a career in survey research:
Undergraduate Study to Prepare for a Survey Research Career
Schools offering undergraduate as well as graduate degrees often have a survey research center affiliated with them. Working at one of these centers would give you an excellent introduction into the field of survey research.
When selecting undergraduate courses consider taking Research Methods or Survey Methodology classes. Many social science departments offer them at the undergraduate level. This will provide you an overview of various ways that research is collected, including the use of surveys. Introductory Statistics courses will also provide a broader comfort zone for working with data.
Graduate Studies Programs in Survey Research
There are some schools that offer a Master’s degree or Specialization in the field of survey research. Among them are:
- University of Connecticut: Master’s and Graduate Certificate Programs in Survey Research, offered online.
- University of Maryland/University of Michigan: Master’s and Ph.D. Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM).
- University of Michigan: Master’s and Ph.D. programs in Survey Methodology.
- University of Nebraska at Lincoln: Master’s and Ph.D. programs in Survey Research.
- The GESIS Summer School in Survey Methodology 2015 will be held from August 6 to 28 at GESIS Cologne, Germany. The program offers high quality training in state-of-the-art techniques and methods of survey research. It aims to equip participants with essential skills in the design, planning, execution, documentation and quality assurance of surveys of households, individuals or organizations. This Summer School is unique in Europe with its focus on Survey Methodology and data collection. For more information about the program and how to register, see http://www.gesis.org/en/events/gesis-summer-school/. To secure a place and affordable accommodation, they recommend early registration.
- ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research provides a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. Its instructional environment stresses integration of methods of quantitative analysis within a broader context of substantive social research. Instruction is grounded in interactive, participatory data-analysis utilizing high-end, networked microcomputers. For more information about the program and how to register, see http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/sumprog/
For more tips on a career in survey research, visit: http://www.bookrags.com/research/opinion-polling-careers-in-eci-02/
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