Cognitive Interviewing for Testing Survey Questions


One day, Foundation level. LondonPrice for SRA members: £202.50

*Prices for 2019 courses have increased to £270 per day; SRA members receive a 25% discount, paying £202.50*

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This course is designed to familiarise participants with a powerful and efficient method of testing survey questions called Cognitive Interviewing. Cognitive interviewing itself encompasses a range of methods. The most popular ones include think-alouds, probing, and observation. Other techniques include paraphrasing, rating tasks, response latency measurement and card sort classification tasks. Each of these methods will be discussed in the course as well as current trends and issues in cognitive interviewing methodology. The course will include practical information on how to implement the various methods as well as “hands-on” sessions where participants will have the chance to practice the major methods.

Topics covered

  • ● Problems with the standard field pilot
  • ● Background to cognitive interviewing
  • ● Cognitive interviewing techniques
  • ● Workshop for practicing cognitive interviewing techniques
  • ● Analysis and reporting of cognitive interview data
  • ● Selecting and recruiting respondents
  • ● Current issues in cognitive interviewing


By the end of the course, participants will:

  • ● Have an understanding of the range of techniques which make up a cognitive interview
  • ● Have increased their own ability to do cognitive interviewing
  • ● Have a better awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of different aspects of cognitive interviewing
  • ● Have insight into the issues of analysing cognitive interview data and selecting and recruiting respondents

Who will benefit?

  • ● The course will benefit anyone new to cognitive interviewing as well as those who have experience in cognitive interviewing, but would like to brush up on their knowledge and skills. The course is particularly appropriate for those who anticipate conducting a survey who wish to learn this powerful tool for piloting their questionnaires.

Learning outcomes

  • ● Participants will achieve an awareness of the critical issues and techniques in conducting a cognitive interview and have increased their own ability to do cognitive interviewing.

Course tutor

The day will be led by Dr Pamela Campanelli. Pamela is a Survey Methods Consultant and U.K. Chartered Statistician and Chartered Scientist. She received her Ph.D. in statistics from the London School of Economics, and an M.A. in survey research methods and B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, she was a Research Associate at the at the University of Michigan, a Survey Statistician at the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Chief Research Officer at the UK Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, and a Research Director at the Survey Methods Centre at the National Centre for Social Research, London.

Her main interests and publications are in the study of survey error and data quality issues, with special emphasis on questionnaire design, question testing strategies, survey sampling and survey analysis. In addition to her consultancy work, she has led a UK ESRC grant on survey nonresponse and been a team member of a UK ESRC grant to explore measurement error in mixed mode surveys. She regularly teaches short courses in the UK for the SRA, the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research and the Royal Statistical Society. She also provides courses both in the UK and internationally for government departments (e.g., Australian Bureau of Statistics), UK Survey Research companies (e.g., TNS-BMRB), universities (e.g., University of Wollongong Australia, University of Hong Kong, University of Michigan Summer Institute), as well as for various other institutions and businesses (e.g., Brazilian Network Information Center; UNESCO Asia Pacific, Civil Service College Singapore) (see

mrs cpd logo This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme

Price for SRA members: £202.50. Use the discount code emailed to you.

VAT is not charged for SRA courses.

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

Want to book 2+ people at the same time? We need to adjust the system to allow this, so email admin[at]the-sra[dot]

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 3 April 2019 at noon.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.