Cognitive interviewing

The live online course provides training in Cognitive Interviewing
  • Event time:
    20th September 2023 09:30 GMT Standard Time – 21st September 2023 13:30 GMT Standard Time
  • Format:

Join us for a training course in partnership with the Social Research Association.

This live online course provides training in Cognitive Interviewing, a set of techniques used to test survey questions. 


This course provides training in Cognitive Interviewing, a set of techniques used to test survey questions. The course takes participants through the stages involved in testing survey questions using cognitive interviewing techniques such as think-aloud, probing, and observation.

Course objectives

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  •  Understand what factors contribute to measurement error in surveys, the advantages and disadvantages of different pretesting methods and the theoretical background to cognitive interviewing;
  • Be able to design cognitive interview protocols and recruitment strategies, conduct interviews, analyse data and interpret findings.


The course covers:

  • What is cognitive interviewing and why is it useful?
  • Designing a cognitive interviewing study
  • Sampling and recruitment strategies
  • Developing a cognitive interview protocol
  • Conducting cognitive interviews
  • Management, analysis and interpretation of cognitive interview data

Who will benefit

You will find the course useful if:

  •  you wish to acquire a theoretical understanding of the role of cognitive methods in the development and testing of survey instruments;
  • you need to gain practical experience in cognitive interviewing techniques and analysis of data;
  • you need to plan a cognitive test for the first time;
  • you commission or manage quantitative research in central or local government, health or other applied policy sectors and need to learn about pre-testing methods so you can incorporate this stage of development into your work

No prior interviewing experience is necessary for this course, although some prior exposure to questionnaire design will be beneficial.

Learning outcomes

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

Course tutor

The course will be taught by members of NatCen’s Questionnaire Development and Testing (QDT) Hub who are experts in the design and conduct of cognitive interviewing studies to test survey questions and materials. The team have tested hundreds of survey questions and will draw on a wide range of examples.