Survey Sampling, Non-Response and Inference

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
08 February 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC L31012 Survey Methods for Social Research,
MSC L310MO Survey Methods for Social Research

Module description

The composition of a survey sample has an important influence on the accuracy of survey results. This is determined by the sample design and by which sample members participate and provide data. This module focuses firstly on how best the processes of sample design and nonresponse can be controlled in a diverse range of practical situations and, secondly, on how to take sample design and nonresponse into account when analysing survey data.

The module focuses particularly on the statistical aspects of survey design and implementation, but emphasises the importance of understanding the practical constraints within which these issues must be dealt with.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • To provide the student with a good understanding of all the key aspects of survey sample design, survey design to minimise non-response, and analysis methods to adjust for non-response.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand and critique the sample design of any survey.

  2. Develop a sample design for a survey with stated objectives.

  3. Estimate standard errors that take sample design into account.

  4. Propose methods to maximise response rates to surveys of different types, within constraints.

  5. Understand the range of analysis methods available to adjust for non-response.

  6. Calculate and apply non-response adjustment weights.

Module information

Indicative Outline of Topics

  • Survey sampling principles and practice.

  • Stratified sampling and multi-stage sampling.

  • Sampling methods in practice.

  • Estimation with complex samples.

  • Introduction to survey nonresponse.

  • How to minimise non-contacts, refusals and item non-response.

  • Responsive and tailored design.

  • Weighting for nonresponse.

  • The future of survey sampling.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour seminar each week.

Attendance in person is expected.


  • Groves, Robert M. (c2009) Survey methodology, Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
  • (©2016) Research methods for postgraduates, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Kempf Leonard, Kimberly. (2005) Encyclopedia of social measurement, Oxford: Elsevier/Academic.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1    50% 
Coursework   Assignment 2    50% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Olena Kaminska, email:
Dr Olena Kaminska



External examiner

Prof Benjamin Bradford
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 18 (90%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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