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Social Statistics by Gender with Cognitive Interviewing – 2023

Social Statistics by Gender with Cognitive Interviewing 
Course LeaderPamela CAMPANELLI
Target GroupThe course is targeted at NSI methodologists and social scientists whose work involves conducting surveys.
Entry Qualifications
  • Sound command of English. Participants should be able to actively participate in discussions and understand the subtleties of questionnaire wording.
  • Background in survey research.

To enable participants:

  • To have an understanding of the range of techniques which make up a cognitive interview
  • To have increased their own ability to do cognitive interviewing
  • To have insight into selecting and recruiting respondents
  • To have insight into analysing cognitive interview data and creating better survey questions
  • To have awareness of a broad range of uses for cognitive interviewing
  • To have awareness of the contribution of cognitive interviewing in comparison to other testing methods
  • To understand how cognitive interviewing can improve questionnaires on gender topics and thus the associated social statistics

Cognitive interviewing is a powerful and efficient method of testing survey questions. The course content covers:

  • Problems with the standard field pilot; cognitive interviewing as the solution
  • What is cognitive interviewing?
  • Some tips on writing survey questions
  • Workshop 1: Putting the questionnaire design tips into practice
  • Workshop 2: Evaluating questions through use of the Question Appraisal System (QAS-99)
  • Cognitive interviewing techniques
  • Workshop 3: 1st Cognitive interviewing exercise
  • Recruiting and sampling respondents
  • Analysis of cognitive interview data
  • Workshop 4: Analysis of cognitive interviews
  • From cognitive interviewing analysis to question changes
  • Reporting
  • Workshop 5: Designing a probing protocol for your survey questions
  • Workshop 6: 2nd Cognitive interviewing exercise
  • Other issues in cognitive interviewing
  • Variations and other uses of cognitive interviewing
  • Cognitive interviewing with questionnaires on gender topics
  • Examples of cognitive interviewing results and revised questions
  • Workshop 7: Revising questions 
  • Cognitive interviewing in comparison to other testing methods


Expected OutcomeAt the end of the course, participants will be able to understand and conduct cognitive interviews, analyse the cognitive interview data and communicate the results in the production of questionnaires in their NSIs.
Training Methods
  • Trainer presentations (with questions and comments encouraged throughout)
  • 7 Workshops taking participants through all the steps of conducting cognitive interviews
Required Reading

Willis, G.B. (1999), Cognitive Interviewing: A “How To” Guide


Suggested Reading

Suggested reading for after the course

  • Willis, G.B. (2005), Cognitive Interviewing: A Tool for Improving Questionnaire Design, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. THIS IS THE KEY BOOK - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Collins, D. (ed.) (2015), Cognitive Interviewing Practice, Sage. EXTREMELY THOROUGH VERSION OF COGNITIVE INTERVIEWING AS A “QUALITATIVE” METHOD
  • Willis, G.B. (2015), Analysis of the Cognitive Interview in Questionnaire Design, New York: Oxford University Press.   VERY GOOD - PRESENTS DIFFERENT TYPES OF METHODS

Other reading suggestions given in the course itself

Required PreparationParticipants need to bring to 3 survey questions they would like to test.

Dr. Pamela Campanelli (independent expert)


Practical Information    
WhenDurationWhereOrganiserApplication  via National Contact Point
26-28.04.20233 daysCologne, GermanyICON-INSTITUT Public Sector GmbHDeadline: 07.03.2023