Introducing Survey Methods to Professional Students in Applied Demography
Technical knowledge of survey design and administration, data management, and analysis is often needed in modern professional practice in both private and public sectors. Demography of health, both health status and health care, uses survey data for surveillance and planning. Public health surveillance “is ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of health related data used to improve health” (CDC 2001). These data are increasingly used by local agencies. In most applied disciplines, the curriculum of a master’s degree offers only a limited time for each topic.We have designed a single, introductory course in survey methods for students enrolled in a professional master’s program. The course has three modules: modern questionnaire design and development methods, sampling practices of major health surveys, and analysis using modern survey software. By contrast, doctoral training for academic research often has one or more courses for each area of methodology, including questionnaire development, sampling techniques, total error measurement, and specialized analysis methods, as well as using surveys for the dissertation
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