PhD course on survey methods in migration research, 2023. Photo: PRIO / Georgina Berry
PhD course on survey methods in migration research, 2023. Photo: PRIO / Georgina Berry

What kinds of research questions are best suited for survey research? And what are the key ethical dimensions of survey research design?

Survey-based research is widespread but also replete with challenges. Researchers face a range of analytical, technical, managerial, and ethical dilemmas. Drawing on extensive experience, Research Professor Jørgen Carling and PRIO Global Fellow Jessica Hagen-Zanker offered the state-of-the-art PhD-level course on survey methods at PRIO, with a focus on migration research. The course was first taught in 2022 and received excellent evaluations from students.

“A tremendous compact course that starts with the 101 survey methods and adds depth through discussions on how to tailor survey methods based on the intricacies of migration research. I left the course confident in my ability that I could design, conduct, and analyse my own surveys.”

This year’s course was taught in Oslo 18–20 October and covered the entire survey process, including research design, technical solutions, data management, quality assurance and communication of results. It drew upon ongoing survey research in the MIGNEX and FUMI projects.

The main funding for the course came from the NORAD-funded project NORHED II project, Partnership for Peace: Better Higher Education for Resilient Societies. Additional funding came from the Research Council of Norway’s grant to PRIO’s migration research under its support to leading social-science research environments (SAMEVAL). The eighteen participants included PhD candidates as well as other early-career scholars from all over the world.

At the end of the course, participants highlighted the value of first-hand accounts from leading researchers of the challenges they have encountered and the solutions they have developed in their own research.