UMass Boston

Data Collection

CSR conducts surveys by mail, telephone, in person, and via the web. Data collection staff receive a thorough program of training in data collection procedures, and their performance is evaluated systematically by supervisors. Interviewers receive a training in basic non-directive, standardized interviewing skills, and their work is routinely monitored and checked by supervisors. The aim of these efforts is to maximize participation, response rates, and data quality. 

CSR conducts large-scale national as well as regional surveys, with sample sizes ranging from less than a hundred to many thousands of surveys, and field interviewers conduct local, state, and regional personal-interview surveys. CSR is experienced in interviewing specialized populations, such as physicians and CEOs, the elderly, children, the very ill, and disadvantaged or hard-to-reach urban populations. CSR has the capability of performing computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) on laptop and tablet computers for in-person surveys, and collecting data using audio-CASI and IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition) technologies, some of the latest techniques to improve response quality for potentially sensitive questions. CSR also conducts many self-administered mail surveys, following standardized protocols including postcard follow-up, second mailings, as well as push-to-web mailings. All completed self-administered mail surveys are double entered and verified. CSR has conducted a number of web surveys with specialized populations and is experienced with increasingly popular mixed-mode data collections.

Foreign Language Surveying

The Center for Survey Research has significant experience surveying in foreign languages. Within the past ten years, surveys have been conducted in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Haitian, Creole, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. CSR also provides enlightened consultation on the potential differences in interpretation of survey results attributable to differences in language and culture.

Focus Groups and Cognitive interviews

CSR conducts focus groups and in-depth interviews, both as primary data collection mechanisms and as steps in the questionnaire development process. We have conducted focus groups with many special populations, including physicians, children with intellectual disabilities, cancer patients, as well as general population groups. In addition, a number of our research staff as well as our interviewers are trained to conduct in-depth cognitive interviews to understand how respondents answer survey questions. The goal of these activities is to determine whether or not drafted questions present tasks that respondents can perform, are consistently understood in the way they were intended, are measuring what they're designed to measure, and can be administered in a standardized way. CSR can conduct focus groups and cognitive interviews in-person or by video, using a service such as Zoom.


Center for Survey Research

100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125