Survey Research

The Statistical Consulting and Survey Research Unit (SCSRU) provides a full suite of services from a single consultation on the design of the survey instrument to a complete package of survey design, implementation and final top-line analysis. The SCSRU tailors services to meet client needs.

For University of Waterloo faculty, staff, and graduate students an initial one hour consultation on survey design is provided free of charge. The SCSRU has a mandate to educate the academic community about quality survey research and methodology. We provide details about introductory scripts and response rate formulas. Qualtrics programming services for web surveys are also available. We also offer services for non-academic surveys such as program reviews.

Our services are available to external clients and the University of Waterloo community.

To request a quote or schedule a consultation, please contact us.

Main services details

Survey Research Services

Research Design

The SCSRU offers consultation on the best methodological design for surveys. We will work with you to assess objectives and study population, and propose an appropriate design, sample size, and sampling frame.

Sample Design

The SCSRU applies years of expertise in complex, highly specialized studies to design sound and rigorous sampling approaches that are tailored to meet your individual needs. The design and implementation of every study involves researching and understanding of best practices and current developments in methodology in order to achieve the best possible response rates. Recommended sampling designs are mindful of the needs of publishing in refereed journals, or to account to granting agencies or public bodies.

Instrument Design

The SCSRU will work with you to develop a questionnaire that best meets the data needs of the project. We review question wording, positioning, response type and data values when requested. We also provide support for introductory scripts.


We can program your survey in industry leading survey platforms Voxco or Qualtrics.

Field Pretesting

We recommend piloting any survey that has not previously been administered. Piloting a survey even among a small number of participants can provide key insights into assessing survey flow, identifying question wording that may be problematic for respondents, confirming survey length and productivity estimates.

Data Collection

The SCSRU offers different types of surveys such as telephone, web, mail, and local face-to-face surveys for data collection. We also offer mixed mode collections, such as a web survey with telephone reminders, a mail survey with a web option, a telephone survey with mailed out pre-contact, or any other combination of our available modes.

Data Files and Analysis

Datasets are prepared based on your specifications. We can provide basic data analysis including frequencies and cross tabulations, as well as a narrative review of findings. Coding of open ended questions is available. Advanced statistical analysis can be performed upon request.

Reporting Packages

The SCSRU strives for transparency in data collection. All our protocols and methodology will be reviewed with you. Regular updates are sent during fieldwork, with regular reports sent throughout the conduct of the survey. The technical report package includes a review of methodology and conduct, dispositions, response rates, codebook, and clean dataset.

Data Security

Data security is very important. Data collected is maintained on a secure, dedicated SCSRU server and protected by University of Waterloo firewalls. Data files are backed up on a separate, secondary server located in a different area of the university to ensure that data are never lost. Strict protocols are in place for data access and retention.

Survey Modes Offered

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Telephone Surveys

We maintain a fully-operational call centre, staffed by highly-trained telephone interviewers. We conduct random digit dialing (RDD) telephone surveys and recruited sample surveys. Depending on the study specifications, we use both landline and cell telephone sample.

While typically more expensive to conduct than web surveys, telephone surveys can provide a broader reach of participants, resulting in a more representative sample of respondents and better validity of survey data than most web survey sampling frames. Telephone surveys using live interviewers also tend to have higher response rates and there are better assurances of data quality during data collection.

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Web Surveys

We typically use recruited samples or samples obtained through panel firms to conduct web surveys. We host web surveys, and our highly skilled programmers use best practices to develop simple to complex surveys. We employ monitored, timed, email reminders to maximize response rates.

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Mail Surveys

We have the ability to print and distribute custom mailings for paper surveys, advance letters, reminders, and incentives. We also offer data entry services.

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Mixed Mode Surveys

We offer mixed mode survey options to obtain the best possible survey response rates. For example, at times it may be not only useful, but necessary to give respondents the option of responding either via telephone, web, paper survey sent via mail, or face to face interview.

Pricing and Timing Guidelines

The specifications for each research project are unique. Please see below for some basic pricing and timing guidelines but please note project costs can vary depending on different variables such as the type of survey, the length of survey and the population being surveyed.

To request a quote or to speak to us about your project, please fill out our checklist with as much information as you have about your project to help us prepare a quote and provide us a preliminary understanding of your research. We realize you may not have all the answers at this time so please feel free to skip any sections. We will contact you within 2 business days to confirm quote details and provide quote timing. If you prefer, you can also email us at

Pricing Guidelines

We are often asked how much our services cost. While the costs for survey data collection is dependent upon the study specifications starting costs for basic, short survey research studies can range as follows:

  • Short web survey hosted for 1 month: starting at $3,000. 
  • Telephone survey (5 to 8 minutes in length), with minimal study participant qualifications: starting at $38 per completed survey.
  • Web survey programming using Qualtrics: $40 per hour (UW faculty, staff and students only).

Timing Guidelines

Similar to pricing, the time it takes to review a survey, program and properly test the survey, conduct the data collection and complete the final data files also varies depending on the study specifications. Typical timelines for the basic, short survey research studies outlined above are as follows:

  • Review of survey: 1-2 weeks
  • Programming and testing: 4-5 weeks
  • Data cleaning, processing and provision of final data files: 4 weeks following end of data collection

Additional services for the UWaterloo community

Non-Academic Surveys

Policy 55 outlines all guidelines related to non-academic surveys with the University of Waterloo populations. The SCSRU can help your team prepare non-academic surveys for quality assurance or assessment and program reviews. Our staff will work with your team to develop and administer internal surveys to the university community (students, staff, or faculty).

Qualtrics Programming

The SCSRU offers Qualtrics programming services to University of Waterloo faculty, staff and graduate students at $400/day. This service is helpful for researchers who are interested in using Qualtrics, a free online survey system available through Information Systems and Technology, but lack the knowledge, time or resources to program web surveys themselves.

Our omnibus survey and panel

Waterloo Region Matters Survey and Panel

Individualized research on an affordable budget!

The Waterloo Region Matters survey is a unique opportunity for researchers, agencies and organizations with limited budgets to field their own survey questions while sharing the cost of conducting the survey research. The SCSRU conducts the Waterloo Region Matters survey on an annual basis.

Consider using the Waterloo Region Matters web survey panel

The SCSRU maintains a small probability-based web survey panel that is fielded in conjunction with the Waterloo Region Matters survey. For more immediate projects that do not require large sample sizes of Waterloo Region residents (e.g. n=300 respondents or fewer), a web survey can be fielded at any time.

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