Cognitive Interviewing: Theory and Practice


Two day, Foundation. London. Price for SRA members: £390

Click here for more information   (NatCen course)


This two day course is aimed at giving participants a thorough grounding in cognitive interviewing and how this technique can be used to improve survey questionnaires. It will be delivered through a combination of taught theory and practical sessions. This course will provide you with all the information you will need to set up and run your own cognitive interviewing projects; emphasis will be placed on learning through practical activities and real-life examples.


By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • • Understand what factors contribute to measurement error in surveys, the advantages and disadvantages of different pretesting methods and the theoretical background to cognitive interviewing;
  • • Be able to design cognitive interview protocols and sample frames, conduct interviews and analyse data collected;


The course covers:

  • • Why do we need to test survey questions?
  • • What methods can be used to test survey questions?
  • • What is cognitive interviewing and why is it useful?
  • • Designing cognitive interview protocols
  • • Conducting cognitive interviews
  • • Management and analysis of cognitive interview data
  • • Reporting findings from cognitive interviews
  • • Selecting and recruiting respondents
  • • Organising cognitive interviewing: things to consider

Who will benefit?

You will find the course useful if:

  • • you wish to acquire a theoretical understanding of the role of cognitive methods in the development and testing of survey instruments;
  • • you need to gain practical experience in cognitive interviewing techniques and analysis of the data;
  • • you need to plan a cognitive test for the first time;
  • • you commission or manage quantitative research in central or local government, health or other applied policy sectors and need to learn about pre-testing methods so you can incorporate this stage of development into your work

No prior interviewing experience is necessary for this course, although some prior exposure to questionnaire design will be beneficial.

Course tutors

The course will be taught by Jo d’Ardenne, Ruxandra Comanaru and Sophie Pilley.

Jo d’Ardenne is Research Director working within NatCen’s Questionnaire Development and Testing (QDT) Hub. She is co-author of the text book, ‘Cognitive Interviewing Practice.’ Jo has experience conducting cognitive interviews with a wide-range of audiences including: children and young people, professionals and people who speak English as a second language. Jo has experience of conducting eye-tracking research to assess how people navigate and locate information on both paper and web-based forms.

Ruxandra Comanaru is a Senior Researcher working in the QDT Hub at NatCen.  Since joining NatCen, Ruxandra has worked of a variety of projects, designing questionnaires, as well as using cognitive interviews to test and refine the questions.  Ruxandra has experience designing and conducting mixed methods research projects in academic and non-academic social research settings. Prior to joining NatCen, Ruxandra was a Lecturer in Quantitative and Qualitative Social Research Methods at Birkbeck, University of London. She has completed a PhD in Applied Linguistics and Communication at Birkbeck, investigating the role of attitudes to multilingualism in the development of European identity.

Sophie Pilley is a Researcher in NatCen’s Questionnaire Development and Testing (QDT) Hub. She has experience in questionnaire design and cognitive testing. She has a particular interest in cognitive testing and interviewing children. She has worked on numerous cognitive interviewing projects including testing questions for the Smoking, Drinking and Drugs Survey and Food and You. Sophie has previously worked at Ipsos MORI working on the GP Patient Survey and evaluation projects. She has a BSc in Sociology and Social Research from the University of Surrey.

Price for SRA members: £390.  Use the discount code emailed to you.

If you are unsure of your code, or haven't received one, please contact us.

Registration on the day is from 9.00 - 9.30 am


Cancellation policy: Full refund if cancelled 21 days or more from the course date.  No refund if cancelled 20 days or fewer from the course date.

Registrations for this course will not be accepted after 29 September 2017  at 12 noon.

Price: £520.00

Start Time: 9:30 am
End Time: 5:00 pm

Start Date: October 4, 2017
End Date: October 5, 2017

Registration Details

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