A short course sponsored by the Joint Program in Survey Methodology 

MAY 23-24, 2017
Presented at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference Center

Vice President, Westat

Survey Director, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

The management of survey research or other population-based research projects has many aspects in common with project management in fields as diverse as software development or building construction.  Much can be borrowed from the extensive theoretical development and the practical guidance and tools that have evolved over the past three decades for the general field of project management.  However, as in any major field where activity is organized around projects, there are unique features of survey research projects that warrant a focused, specialized treatment of project management science and methods.  This course is an adaptation to the survey research setting of the current best practices for information project management espoused by the Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI) and employed by today’s survey management professionals.  The syllabus draws heavily on general best practices and contemporary tools for project management and through cases studies demonstrates how the concepts, practices and tools apply in the management of large scale survey or population-based research projects.

This course will focus on the management of the “life cycle” of a survey project from the initial funding proposals and planning, through design and data collection and terminating with the final data file construction, report writing and project close out. The course will include, but not be limited to, the following topics:

• Project management theory and best practices
• Practical applications, including the development of project management plans, schedules, budgets
• Acquiring and managing resources (funding, systems, personnel) required for various data collection methods (telephone, face to face, mail), cost monitoring techniques
• Time schedules associated with data collection activities
• Survey production and cost management
• Maintaining survey quality and effective communications with stakeholders
• Managing uncertainty and risk in survey projects including tradeoffs with respect to costs, errors, time and personnel resources.

Individuals in government, universities, business, and nonprofit organizations interested in understanding the fundamental dimensions of the survey project management role.

The course will assume a basic knowledge of survey design and methods and a familiarity with the common modes and methods of data collection employed in surveys or similar forms of population-based research. If you are looking for a quick reference with respect to survey sampling, see the Sage Publication, Survey Sampling (#35) by Graham Kalton.   A quick reference on questionnaire design issues is Survey Questions: Handcrafting the Standardized Questionnaire (#63) by J. Converse and S. Presser.  The SAGE Handbook of Survey Methodology (2016) also has good chapters on survey sampling and questionnaire design. The instructors can suggest additional reading targeted to your specific needs or interests.


BRAD EDWARDS is a Vice President, Director of Field Services, and Deputy Area Director at Westat in Rockville, Maryland, with more than 30 years of experience designing and managing large, complex surveys.  He is currently Westat’s corporate officer for the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), the National Hospital Care Survey (NHCS), and the American National Election Study (ANES).  NHATS is a longitudinal CAPI survey launched in 2011 with annual rounds of interviews, and it has spawned the National Survey of Caregiving (NSOC), a CATI survey in 2011, 2015 and 2017.  NHCS collects administrative records form hundreds of hospitals in the U.S. to produce annual estimates of inpatient and outpatient use and costs.  ANES has two components in the 2016 election year, one by web and one by CAPI.  Both will collect information from a national sample of Americans through pre-election and post-election surveys, augmented by voter records and embedding several methodological experiments. As Westat’s Director of Field Services he has administrative responsibility for Westat’s field employees, a dynamic work force numbering in the thousands, and he leads development of technological innovations and methods work that support field surveys. Research interests include total survey error, multicultural issues, panel survey design, mobile devices, CARI, and data collector recruitment, training, and management. He co-chaired (with Stephanie Eckman) the 2015 international conference “Total Survey Error:  Improving Quality in the Era of Big Data,” and is co-editor of the 2016 Wiley book, Total Survey Error in Practice (Paul Biemer, lead editor). He is co-editor of two other books, the 2010 Wiley monograph Survey Methods in Multinational, Multiregional, and Multicultural Contexts (Janet Harkness, lead editor), which won 2013 AAPOR Book Award, and the 2014 Cambridge book, Hard-to-Survey Populations (Roger Tourangeau, lead editor). Brad has a BA from the University of Chicago and participated in New York University’s Executive MBA program.

NICOLE KIRGIS is a Survey Director at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, where she has managed projects for 18 years. Nicole is currently the Survey Director for the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in the United States. She has also led data collection activities for many other projects such as the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). In addition, she provides consultation and training on data collection operations and management to international researchers. Her international work includes providing training and consultation to the Institute for Social and Environmental Research in Chitwan, Nepal, providing consultation to the Institute of Social Science Survey at Peking University for the Chinese Family Panel Studies and the China Mental Health Study, and training on the HRS in Japan and Thailand. Nicole has a BA from Michigan State University and is studying for her master’s degree in the Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Michigan. She has completed training with th

Registrants will be provided with a course lecture notebook. JPSM group continental breakfasts, lunches and refreshments are included in the course fee.

Registrants must check-in with the JPSM onsite each day of the course.

TUESDAY: MAY 23, 2017
8:00 - 9:00 Registrant Check-in and Continental Breakfast.

9:00 - 10:00

Background: Course Introduction. Managing Projects within Survey Organizations.
10:00 - 10:15 Coffee Break.
10:15 - 12:00 Survey Project Manager’s Role. The  Project Environment, and Survey Life Cycle.
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch.
1:00 - 2:45  Survey Project Initiation and Funding. Project Planning and Scope Definition.

2:45 - 3:00

Coffee Break.

3:00 - 5:00

Project Scheduling.


7:30 - 8:30 Registrant Check-in and Continental Breakfast.
8:30 - 10:00 Project Staffing, Human Resources, and Communication.
10:00 - 10:15 Coffee Break.
10:15 - 12:00 Survey Project Budgeting.
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch.
1:00 - 2:30 Executing, Monitoring and Controlling the Project.
2:30 - 2:45 Coffee Break.
2:45 - 4:00 Project Risk Management and Responsive Design. Managing Post-Survey Activities and Project Closure. Wrap-up Q & A.
4:00 Adjourn.

Fees and awards are not transferrable due to nonattendance. Fees are course specific. The course fee is $670 for JPSM sponsor affiliates, $670 for full-time university students, and $900 for other participants. Sponsor Affiliate List

Online registration is required.  The registration deadline is May 9, 2017 Confirmation of acceptance will be sent after the registration form has been processed. Registrants are responsible for keeping track of their registrations and course dates. Contact JPSM if you have any questions concerning the status of the registration. JPSM Short  Courses

Payment by credit card is required.  Payment is due May 9, 2017.  Payments are course and date specific. Payment may be done online during registration. Post registration payment may be done online using the registration number or by calling 800.937.9320. Credit card payments may also be faxed to 734.764.8263.

Tax Identification Number (University of Michigan): 38-6006309  

DUNS (University of Michigan): 073133571 

Please notify JPSM as soon as possible if you need to cancel your registration. Fees and awards are not transferrable due to nonattendance. Cancellation requests should be done online. You will be fully reimbursed if you cancel by May 9, 2017. Cancellation May 10-15, 2017 will require a $100 administrative fee, the remainder will be reimbursed. Cancellation on or after May 16, 2017 is subject to the full fee amount.

The Janet Norwood Conference and Training Center (JNCTC)

Visitor Entrance: Postal Square, Building, 1st Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20212-0001
Classroom: Conference Rooms 1-2-3, Conference Center: 202.691.6630

The course will be held at Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference and Training Center in Washington DC. Attendees are required to enter through the visitor entrance on First Street NE (between Massachusetts Avenue and G Street, NE) across from Union Station. Do not use the main entrance on 2 Massachusetts Avenue.  Please note that food is not allowed in the classroom. Only drinks with caps or lids are allowed into the classroom.

All visitors must present a valid photo ID at the visitor’s entrance and pick up a visitor’s badge. Visitors and packages will be processed through the x-ray and metal detector screening equipment. Equipment brought into BLS requires property passes. Equipment passes can be picked up from the receptionist. Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow enough time to go through security. Attendees  must also check-in with JPSM onsite assistant each day of the course.

Contact your LAN department in advance to see if the URL can be added as an authorized site. The center has open unsecured public Wi-Fi access. Some browsers, such as Chrome, are not compatible. The conference rooms are equipped with repeaters which ensures the wireless signal is transmitted throughout the conference center.  Users must accept pop-ups to accept the terms of the Wi-Fi and to enter the log-in credentials.  If your computer is government issued or company issued the user may not be able to modify the security settings which allows access to the CTC_Guest network. 

Individuals are responsible for making their own overnight room reservations and for payment.

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The citation programs are built around the JPSM short courses. The JPSM Citation in Introductory Survey Methodology is designed to provide the working professional or interested student with state-of-the-art knowledge about current principles and practices for conducting complex surveys combined with practical skills of day-to-day utility. The JPSM Citation in Introductory Economic Measurement is designed for professional staff who need to know the principles and practices of economic measurement. Completion of either citation program involves taking a semester-length JPSM credit-bearing course and eight JPSM short courses, of which four are specified core courses. For information on the Certificate and Citation Programs visit the website at  or call 301.314.7911.

Questions for this course should be directed to the JPSM Short Course, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Room 4050, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2321, Phone: 800.937.9320, Fax: 734.764.8263, Email: jpsmshort@umich.eduTo unsubscribe to the JPSM Short Course Listserv List, please send an email to with the words "Unsubscribe-Short Course list" in the subject line.

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Tax Identification Number (University of Michigan): 38-6006309  

 DUNS (University of Michigan): 073133571 

Primary Funding for JPSM is from the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy