The IHSN program of activities includes:
- Improvement of data collection methods and practices through assessment and improvement of survey methods and programs. The IHSN facilitates the work of experts and specialized task forces who produce guidelines and reference materials. The IHSN also develops and maintains a Question Bank, a central repository of international survey guidelines, definitions of related concepts and indicators, interviewer instructions, and classifications.
- Development and maintenance of tools and guidelines to help data producers improve the documentation, preservation, anonymization, cataloguing, dissemination, and archiving of survey and census microdata.
- Maintenance of survey and census catalogs to inform data users about the existence of data. The IHSN does not distribute microdata, but helps make these data more accessible by providing data documentation, cataloguing, and dissemination tools and recommendations to agencies that own such data.
DDI is used by participating data producers to catalog and document data -- see the IHSN Survey Catalog. The IHSN coordinates its activities with the Accelerated Data Program (ADP), which supports the implementation of international best practices of survey design and data archiving in developing countries.