Integrating Online Surveys into the Teaching of Research Methods in the Social Sciences

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Research methods courses which emphasize survey research and analysis often ask students to conduct and administer surveys haphazardly on campus or in the community. Some programs go a step further and conduct telephone surveys in a more controlled and supervised environment. Birmingham-Southern College, for more than twenty years, has used the latter in administering a statewide telephone survey in Alabama. This year we paired traditional telephone interviewing with a matching online statewide survey. When we combined both surveys and applied appropriate weights, we were satisfied that we had a representative sample. We were able to demonstrate to students key differences in results between the telephone survey and the online survey. We describe these differences and discuss the merits of incorporating online surveys into an undergraduate research methods course as a tool for teaching students the advantages and disadvantages of different types of survey methodology.


Keywords: Pedagogy, Research Methods in the Social Sciences, Online Surveys, Research Methodologies
Stream: Sociology, Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Natalie Davis

Professor of Political Science and Chair, Department of Political Science, Sociology, and Economics, Birmingham-Southern College
Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Natalie Davis is currently Professor of Political Science and Chair of Political Science, Sociology, and Economics at Birmingham-Southern College. She joined the faculty in 1972. Dr. Davis holds the Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teaches courses in comparative politics, Southern Politics (USA), and research methodology. IN 2002, Davis was named the Alabama Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching.

Alicia Weaver

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Political Science, Sociology, and Economics, Birmingham-Southern College
Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Alicia Weaver received her Ph.D. in sociology from The Ohio State University and is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Political Science, Sociology, and Economics at Birmingham-Southern College. Her research interests include environmental attitudes and behaviors, sustainable development, comparative social change, and survey research methodology. She teaches courses in contemporary social problems, environmental sociology, urban sociology, and research methods.

Ref: I08P0892