2023-2024 / SOCI0053-5

Survey methodology


16h Th, 6h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in political sciences : general4 crédits 
 Bachelor in human and social sciences3 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of social sciences)3 crédits 
 Master in public health (120 ECTS) (Transitional programme)3 crédits 
 Master in journalism (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in information and communication (60 ECTS)5 crédits 


Sébastien Fontaine

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The theoretical course covers the steps of a quantitative survey. The main steps developed in this theoretical course are those concerning sampling techniques, the preparation of a questionnaire, the principles relating to the interpretation of results (elements of multivariate analysis).

The lectures will also delve into some of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie questions formulation techniques.

Exercise or question/answer sessions will be organized for the most technical parts of the course (sampling, writing questions, statistical interpretation of results). These sessions will sometimes be specific, sometimes adjoining the theoretical sessions.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The purpose of the course is double:
1 ° to give to the students the theoretical basic knowledge necessary for the realization of a quantitative survey, mainly in sampling of populations, realization of questionnaires, statistical treatment and interpretation of results.

2° To give the students the necessary tools in order to understant and interpret the surveys they could be confronted to : how to understand sampling error, how to understand various forms of figures and tables, how to assess the effect of the ways questions are asked and the potential biases they can induce, which conclusions may drawn form allowable evidence.

3° To position survey techniques in relation to other ways of gathering relevant information in social sciences.


This course is also pre-requisite for the "survey practice" course where students will carry out a survey themselves.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

If possible, knowledge of elementary notions of statistics and probability

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Suggestion: To pass this course (like many others) you will have to: -1- be present. in lessons; -2- take notes (active listening) and -3- read the slides during the year.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

The theoretical lessons will be given in lecture form and is illustrated by slides (ppt).

THE COURSE WILL NOT BE PODCASTED in order to preserve the dynamic aspect of the sessions and to encourage interactions.

Recommended or required readings

A pedagogical frame is provided throuh detailed powerpoint. All technical elements of the course can be found there.The oral course is dedicated to explaining and exemplifying the content of powerpoint. To attend the course is very useful to understand the various slides.
CH I General questions of validity
CH II The questionnaire and problems of bias
CH III Notions of sampling
CH IV Introduction to presentation and analysis of survey results.

Mainly used books are : see French version.
Consulting the various books is not at all compulsory but may help the student to understand better or to deepen the study of some particular points.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions )

Additional information:


Written exam.

The written exam consists of open-ended questions, which is taken into account:

- the accuracy of the answer.

- the relevance: it is a question of answering precisely the question posed and not only of restoring the theory. Considerations that have nothing to do with the question generally lose points.

- the spirit of synthesis: to stick to what is useful for the answer, a maximum of 50 words per answer will be authorized.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Slides are not send all at once by one chapter after another.
Those slides are indeed regularly adapted to furnich examples better linked to socio-political news and evolutions.


Teacher : Sébastien FONTAINE Tél : 04/366 31 51 e-mail : Sebastien.Fontaine@ulg.ac.be

Association of one or more MOOCs