Most public opinion professionals begin their careers working on projects whose budgets were created by others in their organization and they must live within the constraints of those budgets. This course is designed for those interested in better understanding budget creation and are ready to improve their own budget skills specific to public opinion research projects. Students will learn how to break down a project into manageable segments, multiple methods for estimating costs, how to build the budget as a model where assumptions change, and how to manage the budget over the life of the project.

This is not a lecture course. The entire course will be a hands-on/interactive exercise where you will be guided through the budget planning/building process (i.e., a laptop computer with Excel or Google Sheets is required). The instructors will discuss real-world demands made on anyone creating or managing a budget, e.g., “The client needs this to cost less than $X,” “We need X% profit margin,” “We must deliver results in X days/weeks/months,” or all of the above). In the end, students will experience the steps to building a project budget and prepare for the efficient management of project costs.