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Task Force on Reassessing Today’s Survey Methods Conducts Successful Mini-Conference; Working on Special Edition of POQ


AAPOR is lending a hand as our field works to adapt to changing social habits and new technologies. One prominent effort is the Task Force on Reassessing Today’s Survey Methods. Launched in August 2014, this task force was asked to provide guidance to the association, and the profession more broadly, on how our methods should evolve to meet the challenges and take advantages of the opportunities coming our way.

The Task Force was given three main tasks. The first is to organize a special track of sessions at the annual conference — a “mini-conference” — devoted to the subject of reassessing today’s survey methods. Eleven sessions with 51 presentations were held, along with a special mini-conference poster session that featured 35 posters. Mini-conference sessions were popular, with a total of more than 900 conference attendees in the audience.

Many — though not all — of the sessions were devoted to the use of non-probability sampling. Some dealt with matching and weighting adjustments, while others compared probability and non-probability samples. One panel focused on designs that combine probability and non-probability samples. Other sessions examined a study of options for redesigning the American National Election Study, methodological innovations in federal surveys and the use of latent class analysis as a tool for measuring survey quality. One highly popular session was devoted to a discussion of the findings of AAPOR’s Big Data Task Force.

The second assignment for the Task Force was to facilitate the production of an edited volume of research devoted to the Task Force theme. The editors of Public Opinion Quarterly have agreed to devote the 2017 special issue of the journal to this theme, and Peter Miller — a former AAPOR president and POQ editor — has agreed to be the editor for this special issue. A call for papers will be forthcoming this summer.

The final responsibility of the Task Force is to produce a short report for the AAPOR Executive Council that offers guidance to AAPOR members and other practitioners, as well as survey data users such as journalists, on how to evaluate results from both probability and non-probability sample surveys. The report will be delivered to the Council later this summer.

In addition to its co-chairs, the Task Force includes Paul Biemer (RTI International), Courtney Kennedy (Abt SRBI), Frauke Kreuter (University of Maryland), Anthony Salvanto (CBS News) and George Terhanian (NPD Group).