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Demographic Data Collection Syllabus

Research1 min read

Author: Diane Coffey

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This course is intended to introduce students to the main types of demographic data, and prepare them to successfully collect their own data. There is a focus on collecting data in developing countries. We will look at surveys and other instruments that are commonly used to collect demographic data. For each, we will look at the indicators that are commonly collected using those instruments.

We will consider what constitutes and what impacts data quality. Data quality can be affected by the research design (e.g. prospective longitudinal data are threatened by attrition), the instrument (e.g. how to phrase questions on a household survey questionnaire) or with the indicator (e.g. whether or not to rely on parental reports of children’s heights).

We will also try to build several “skills” needed for demographic data collection—sampling, preventing and analyzing attrition, writing survey questions, designing a form, interviewing, and survey management. The discussion and development of these skills will be woven throughout the course. For several of the sessions, we will look at data collection projects from the developing world as case studies, meant to stimulate discussion about the topics covered in the class.


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