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Transparency Initiative

AAPOR Transparency Initiative          

Comment on the initiativeAdditional background | Supporters of the initiative

In November 2009 the American Association for Public Opinion Researched announced its Transparency Initiative, a program to place the value of openness at the center of our profession, and to encourage and make it as easy as possible for survey firms to be transparent about their research methods.

Contemplated elements of the Transparency Initiative include:

  • our Association’s public recognition of excellence in transparency; 
  • a system for collecting and archiving disclosure information; 
  • education for organizations in how to make transparency a routine part of their work; 
  • outreach to survey sponsors, users of survey data and the public to reinforce the value of transparency and to publicize the organizations that participate in the initiative; 
  • collaboration with other associations (e.g., ASA, CASRO, ESOMAR, NCPP, WAPOR) and academic disciplines in these activities. 

The Transparency Initiative is an AAPOR program designed to encourage routine disclosure of methodological information from polls and surveys whose findings are released to the public. Through the initiative, AAPOR plans to officially recognize those organizations that routinely disclose methodological information. In addition, the Association will help participating organizations comply with the initiative, help design and build an archive for this methodological information and educate survey sponsors and the public on the importance of transparency.

The initiative is a work in progress. We need organizations and individuals to participate in order to bring the project to fruition. During the next several months, committees will be working in three general areas: 1) Disclosure and Archiving; 2) Education; and 3) Recognition.

The Disclosure and Archive Team, organized under the AAPOR Standards Committee (Reg Baker, Chair and Tim Johnson, Associate Chair), has the central mission of establishing what, when and how methodological information should be disclosed in order to gain AAPOR recognition. This group will coordinate with the Roper Center to plan a straightforward online method for depositing information and the best way to display it. The Disclosure and Archive team will also consider how AAPOR should monitor organizational compliance to disclosure commitments.

The Education Team, organized under the Membership and Chapter Relations Committee (Kelly Foster, Chair, Joe Murphy, Associate Chair) and the Education Committee (Melissa Herrmann, Chair) will work to develop educational materials and opportunities for organizations who would like to participate in the initiative, but have difficulty doing so currently because their systems for documenting methodological information are not well developed.

The Recognition Team, organized under the Communications Committee (Jon Cohen, Chair, Rich Morin, Associate Chair), will devise methods for publicly recognizing participating organizations and educating the public and survey sponsors on the meaning and importance of transparency.

A number of organizations and individuals have already agreed to work with AAPOR on the initiative. View the list of organizations here. If your organization would like to play a part, or if it has been mistakenly left off the list, please e-mail us at

Similarly, if you personally would like to participate in the work of any of the Disclosure and Archiving, Education or Recognition teams, please contact us at Let us know what area(s) you would like to work on.

Organizations and individual volunteers will be contacted as we move forward. Please let us know soon if you would like to be involved, since we need to make good progress over the summer.

Read the most recent  Transparency Initiative update (8-11-10)

For more information about what prompted the initiative and what it entails, see the Fall 2009 AAPOR News article by Peter Miller, AAPOR president 2009-10. For questions, comments or to support the initiative, e-mail


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