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II-a: Collecting quantitative Data and Survey design

Part of
Session Two
July 21 - 22
Recommended for
Comissioners, Evaluators, Policy Makers


Surveys are a widely used and incredibly versatile tool for collecting information and primary data from individuals or groups in order to design policy and conduct research. Several factors need to be considered, during the conceptualization, design and implementation phases of a study, to ensure that quantitative data collected through survey instruments is reliable and accurate.

This two-day introductory workshop provides a thorough, step-by-step introduction to basic concepts of measurement theory and quantitative survey design. The workshop draws on CLEAR/J-PAL SA’s vast experience in running randomised evaluations that involve extensive primary data collection. Through this workshop, participants learn concepts related to what data to collect, how to design good survey instruments, why and how to pilot survey instruments, use of digital vs. Paper-based modes for data collection, and how to develop field protocols, as well as best practices related to each. Additionally, the workshop delve into strategies used in measurement of sensitive questions and for measurement in specific thematic areas.

The workshop uses an array of pedagogical tools including lectures, supplemental case studies, and experiential exercises to give participants a thorough overview of strategies and challenges presented by real world quantitative data collection.


The workshop aims to increase participants’ understanding of the process of designing and implementing effective survey questionnaires that yield high quality data. The following key concepts are covered:

  • Creating accurate and precise measurements (SMART indicators), particularly for concepts that are ‘hard to measure’
  • Understanding and using the Theory of Change framework to inform indicator selection
  • Sources of measurement error and potential strategies to reduce errors in data collection
  • A step-by-step guide to designing a quantitative survey
  • The advantages and disadvantages of paper and digital data collection
  • Best practice to use when piloting survey instruments to ensure high quality data collection
  • Introduction to implementation monitoring, and designing tools and indicators to conduct monitoring
  • Real world examples from J-PAL randomised evaluations of collecting quantitative data on topics such as health, gender, etc.
  • Sampling strategies for quantitative data collection

The workshop is designed to enable participants to learn the basics of data collection and measurement theory, and apply these concepts when designing survey instruments for their implementation or evaluation projects.

recommended for

The course content is geared towards imparting knowledge on practical and theoretical aspects of collecting data and would benefit individuals who will either be leading data collection efforts at their respective organisations or will be commissioning data collection to an external organisation. The course is specifically intended for researchers, M&E professionals and other individuals looking to build and/or refresh their knowledge of fundamental skills for collecting primary quantitative data. The workshop may also appeal to policymakers who want to develop a better understand of the challenges and types of tools available to conduct high quality data collection. This may also serve as a refresher course for individuals that are familiar with basic concepts of evaluations and survey data collection.


The level of this workshop is basic to intermediate. It is intended for individuals who are looking to build their foundational understanding of the concepts related to quantitative data collection listed under workshop objectives.


There are no specific prerequisites to attend this course, however, some basic knowledge of quantitative evaluations and theory of change will be helpful.