Germany, Cologne

Factorial Survey Designs

when 8 August 2016 - 12 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 ECTS
fee EUR 250

The factorial survey (“vignette analysis”) is a method that integrates multi-factorial experimental set-ups into surveys. Respondents are asked to evaluate fictitious situations, objects or persons. By systematically varying attributes of the descriptions it is possible to determine their influence on respondents’ stated attitudes, decisions, or choices. The experimental variation of stimuli allows estimating the influence of each attribute on the evaluation; the factorial survey is therefore an instrument to test theoretical predictions. As the experiment is embedded in a survey questionnaire, it is possible to reach heterogeneous sample populations. This course gives a theoretical and practical overview of factorial survey methods. Participants will get practical insights into all single steps necessary to design factorial survey experiments: (1) construction of vignettes, (2) selection of an experimental design, (3) drafting and programming of questionnaires (for online surveys as well as paper and pencil surveys), (4) data management, and (5) data analysis techniques (such as multilevel analyses, estimations of willingness to pay). Participants may select a research question related to their own research for practical exercises. For most practical analyses the statistical software package Stata will be used (prior knowledge needed). For setting up experimental designs and programming of questionnaires we use the software packages SAS and QuestBack (no prior knowledge is needed). The method is NOT connected to (confirmatory or explorative) factor analysis. Moreover, the course does not include anchoring and video vignettes.
You can find the full syllabus of the course with complete information on the topics, literature, and day-to-day schedule on

Course leader

Prof. Dr. Katrin Auspurg, full professor in Sociology, area Quantitative Methods of Empirical Research, Department of Sociology, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany;
Dr. Carsten Sauer is researcher at the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld Univer

Target group

Participants will find the course useful if they:
- want to learn about survey-experimental designs to study attitudes or decisions
- have initial ideas for their own research questions that could be realized by means of a factorial survey;
- plan to conduct a factorial survey in their projects;
- want to deepen their knowledge of experimental designs and quantitative statistical methods;
- want to learn how to analyse data from experimental designs and factorial surveys and evaluate the quality of such data.

- participants should be familiar with the statistical software package Stata before the course starts (e.g., do-files, standard commands),
- participants should have basic knowledge of questionnaire design and experimental methods.
- methodical knowledge of data management and quantitative data analyses (e.g. linear regression techniques, coding of variables, merging of data sets).

Course aim

By the end of the course participants will:
- have learned and discussed the features, typical applications, advantages, and shortcomings of factorial survey methods;
- have acquired practical insights into all single steps that are needed to set up factorial survey designs, to implement them into (computer assisted) questionnaires, to analyse resulting data, and report on results;
- be familiar with practical methods to evaluate data quality gained by factorial survey methods;
- have gained some insights into related experimental survey methods like conjoint analyses and choice experiments;
- be able to apply factorial survey methods on their own.

Credits info

- Certificate of attendance issued upon completion.
Optional bookings:
- 2 ECTS points via the University of Mannheim for regular attendance and satisfactory work on daily assignments (EUR 20).
- 4 ECTS points via the University of Mannheim for regular attendance and satisfactory work on daily assignments and for submitting a paper/report of about 5000 words to the lectur-er(s) up to 4 weeks after the end of the summer school (EUR 50).

Fee info

EUR 250: Student/PhD student rate.
EUR 350: Academic/non-profit rate.
Early bird discount: EUR 50 for applicants who book and pay by April 30.
The rates include the tuition fee, course materials, the academic program, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, and a number of social activities.


10 DAAD scholarships are available via the Center for Doctoral Studies in Social and Behav-ioral Sciences (CDSS) at the University of Mannheim.