Inversion of multimode surface-wave data is of increasing interest in the near-surface geophysics community. For a given near-surface geophysical problem, it is essential to understand how well the data, calculated according to a layered-earth model, might match the observed data. A data-resolution matrix is a function of the data kernel (determined by a geophysical model and a priori information applied to the problem), not the data. A data-resolution matrix of high-frequency (??? 2 Hz) Rayleigh-wave phase velocities, therefore, offers a quantitative tool for designing field surveys and predicting the match between calculated and observed data. First, we employed a data-resolution matrix to select data that would be well predicted and to explain advantages of incorporating higher modes in inversion. The resulting discussion using the data-resolution matrix provides insight into the process of inverting Rayleigh-wave phase velocities with higher mode data to estimate S-wave velocity structure. Discussion also suggested that each near-surface geophysical target can only be resolved using Rayleigh-wave phase velocities within specific frequency ranges, and higher mode data are normally more accurately predicted than fundamental mode data because of restrictions on the data kernel for the inversion system. Second, we obtained an optimal damping vector in a vicinity of an inverted model by the singular value decomposition of a trade-off function of model resolution and variance. In the end of the paper, we used a real-world example to demonstrate that selected data with the data-resolution matrix can provide better inversion results and to explain with the data-resolution matrix why incorporating higher mode data in inversion can provide better results. We also calculated model-resolution matrices of these examples to show the potential of increasing model resolution with selected surface-wave data. With the optimal damping vector, we can improve and assess an inverted model obtained by a damped least-square method.