Survey Practicum

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
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

This module provides an opportunity to gain practical experience in some of the key fieldwork activities through a short work placement (10 days or equivalent) at ISER or another recognized survey organization. The purpose is to expose students to, and enable them to work on, various activities that take place 'behind the scenes' in the day-to-day running of a large-scale survey research project.

In this way, the module provides students with important applied knowledge and experience to complement the lecture-based modules, preparing them for employment as survey professionals or for postgraduate research work.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • To provide the student with practical experience of some key survey activities and experience of a real survey-based work environment.

Module learning outcomes

The introduction to Practicum takes place in the autumn term, during the first lecture of the SC970 module. The work placement takes place during spring term or during a three week period over the Easter vacation. Students will make a presentation describing their experiences on the placement during summer term. The division between self-directed and supervised work will be determined by the supervisor and overseen by the module convenor.

Module information

The main component of the practicum is to undertake a discrete package of work at a recognized survey organization. This placement provides an opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge gained during the lectures in a practical situation. In so doing, students will gain knowledge, understanding and practical competence in some particular aspect of survey research that interests them. Students will choose from (or be allocated to) one of a number of work packages available.

This module is an important contribution to students' overall understanding of the survey design and data collection process. It provides an opportunity for a student to observe the work of survey organizations in practice and compare this with the theoretical knowledge obtained on other modules of the program. The students are encouraged to think critically about current practice, analysing potential improvements. While each student is likely to be assigned to different tasks and learn different aspects of survey practice, the students will share their experience with others in the end of the module through presentations.

No specific reading is required for this module, though it is likely that the placement supervisor will require some background reading to be done, relating to the survey or organisation with which the student will be involved during the placement.

Survey Methods students but useful for anyone interested in surveys

Learning and teaching methods

Please note that you should be spending up to ten hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 30 hours in total for three 20-credit modules). This module, SC972 covers survey practicum and follows other, taught, modules on survey methodology. As such it focuses on implementing theoretical knowledge learnt in other survey methods classes in a practical setting of a survey project. It is therefore important that students complete taught survey methods modules before they undertake the survey practicum.

Depending on the organisation where the placement is completed, students may be involved in a variety of survey-related processes and tasks, from designing and testing the questionnaire, briefing interviewers, to monitoring fieldwork, calculating survey responses, cleaning data, and preparing data documentation.

Students are required to contact the module teacher in the autumn term in order to express their plans to complete the survey practicum in the summer term and discuss the preparation needed for it. Early discussions with the module teacher are needed to agree on the preferred survey organisation and the timing of the placement.

Throughout the placement the teacher remains available to answer any of the questions that might arise about the placement or the assessments. She will also be requesting regular placement progress reports from all students in order to confirm that the placement will be completed in time and to the standards required.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Placement supervisors evaluation    50% 
Coursework   Presentation    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 Violetta Parutis, email:
Dr Violetta Parutis


Travel costs for UK - based unpaid, approved work placements and live projects which are an integral part of a module may be covered by your department. (NB this will usually exclude field trips and site visits). Please check with your module supervisor to ensure that the activity is eligible.

External examiner

Prof Benjamin Bradford
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 4 hours, 4 (100%) hours available to students:
0 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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