Graduate Programs

Certificate Programs

Survey Research

The Department of Political Science offers a Graduate Certificate in Survey Research. Its main purpose is to provide students with interdisciplinary training in the evaluation of survey research data, and the implementation of survey research programs.

Program Description

Survey research has expanded with acceleration in the past three decades. It is now widely used across a number of disciplines. For example it is used by medical researchers and public health specialists in epidemiological studies, evaluation of public information campaigns and to assess behavioral and attitudinal risks for disease and injury. It is used by public administrators, in field such as urban planning and criminal justice to evaluate current programs, assess the impact of public safety campaigns and assess citizen support for new developments in public facilities.

Educational leaders use surveys or diverse activities including marketing strategies for higher education institutions and scheduling of classes and transportation for elementary and secondary schools. Attorneys and legal professionals look at the impact of programs and activities on jury selection, perceptions of courtroom behavior and trust/support for new and existing statutes. Business leaders are constantly monitoring the public’s attitudes and behaviors in regards to product development, customer satisfaction, marketing strategies and even location of facilities.

Not-for-profit agencies estimate the potential for enlisting volunteers, the potential for fund-raising and effectiveness of fund-raising campaigns. Of course, beyond such applied uses, academicians in many disciplines use survey data to study a broad range of phenomena including financial risk-taking, voting behavior, family satisfaction, medical treatment preferences, and a host of other areas.

Although many people use survey data, few are trained in the twin goals of the Certificate Program-evaluation of the quality of survey data and the implementation of programs of survey research from data collection through analysis. The main objective of this program is to provide a graduate student with such training through an interdisciplinary approach to all aspects of survey research.

Students considering application to the Certificate Program are welcome in the classes (with prerequisites or instructors permission). Up to 9 credit hours earned as a graduate non-degree student or graduate degree student and approved by the program’s director may be applied toward the Certificate upon admission to the program.

Students applying for entry into the program should have at least an appropriate bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and either a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or sufficient professional standing in employment to indicate their ability to handle the demands of the program. Students who complete the program successfully will receive an Indiana University certificate.

Director and Academic Advisor
Professor Brian Vargus
Tel: 317.274.7226

Bill Blomquist (Political Science)
Linda Hass (Sociology)
Suzanne Steinmetz (Sociology)
Gregory Steele (Public Health)
Brian Vargus (Political Science)
Terry Zollinger (Medicine)

Associate Professors
Ain Hass (Sociology)
Eric Wright (SPEA)

The Certificate in Survey Research Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to survey research in both theory and application. It encompasses a scholarly introduction to sophisticated techniques in survey research and the opportunity for a student to tailor the program to fit within their other graduate work.

Program Requirements

Students will need to complete 15 hours of course work with a grade of B- or better in each course, and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7. All required and elective courses will be at the 500- or 600-level, no undergraduate courses may be used toward the certificate, and no more than three hours may be transferred from another institution.

Required Core Courses (6 credits)
  • Y567 - Public Opinion: Approaches and Issues (3 cr.) - An introductory seminar that will discuss all the key approaches, issues and concepts in the field of survey research, allowing students to identify more specific interests that may be further explored in their elective courses.
  • Y590 - Seminar in Survey Research (3 cr.) - A capstone seminar designed to examine current issues in the application of survey research to public policy. Students will be encouraged to take this course at the end of their program of study. They will be encouraged to share with other students their particular applications to increase the interdisciplinary nature of the seminar.
Elective Courses (9 credits)*
  • Y575 - Political Data Analysis I - Introduces students to quantitative research methods for studying politics, focusing on topics that are statistical in content or that must be addressed for statistics to make sense. Students who complete the course will achieve a level of statistical competency that will enable them to enroll in courses concerned with multivariate statistical techniques, and will acquire the basic skills of data analysis that are indispensable to the practice of quantitative political science.
  • Y576 - Political Data Analysis II - Builds on Y575 by familiarizing students with more advanced research methods, such as regression analysis and techniques for dealing with categorical and limited dependent variables. Models to be covered include logit, probit, multinomial logit, ordered probit, duration models and survival analysis. Attention will be directed at the application of these methods to political phenomena and the presentation of the results.
  • Y580 - Research Methods - This course surveys the major techniques for investigating current political problems. It emphasizes the relationship between theory and practice in understanding and conducting research. It will examine issues in field research essential to a full understanding of a research problem.

*Students will be required to complete nine additional hours, chosen from a group of Primary Courses or Alternates. This list is designed to maximize the flexibility of a program that meets an interdisciplinary demand. They are offered with varying regularity, but the curriculum allows each discipline to adapt its courses to fit student needs in its area.

Alternatives to Y575*

  • Public Affairs V506 - Statistical Anaylsis for Effective Decision Making
  • Psychology P600 - Statistical Inference
  • Public Health H157 - Introduction to Epidemiology

Alternatives to Y576*

  • Sociology R559 - Intermediate Sociological Statistics
  • Public Health P600 - Epidemiological Research Methods

Alternatives to Y580*

  • Health Administration H518 - Statistical Methods for Health Services
  • Public Health P601 - Advanced Epidemiology
  • Public Affairs V562 - Public Program Evaluation

*Or any other comparable graduate course accepted by the Program Director

Internship Option (3 credits)

As an alternative to one of the electives, students may - with the approval of the Program Director - substitute an internship experience for one of the elective courses. They would have to work with an approved faculty member in completing a research project arising out of placement with an approved commercial research organization or the IU Survey Research Center at Bloomington. It involves a commitment of at least 8 hours per week for one full semester. They would enroll for credit in Y585 - Internship in Survey Research, or a comparable internship course in another department or school, subject to approval by the Program Director.

For more information, and to make enquiries about course equivalencies, contact certificate director Prof. Brian Vargus.