The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) hosted a successful 68th Annual Conference at the Seaport Boston Hotel & Seaport World Trade Center, Boston in Massachusetts on May 16-19, 2013. More than 1,100 attendees enjoyed a robust program that included cutting-edge papers, methodological briefs, posters, panel sessions and demonstrations that addressed important research questions, increased AAPOR member knowledge, and promoted our profession.
Our conference theme this year was: “Asking Critical Questions: Toward a Sustainable Future for Public Opinion and Social Research,” which was embedded throughout the conference.
Public opinion and survey researchers are operating in a time of considerable challenge and change. Securing respondent cooperation from an increasingly wary population has never been more difficult, and costs to produce comparable amounts of data have risen over time. It has become clear that addressing such challenges requires researchers to be adaptable and innovative—for example, through increased flexibility in working with respondents in modes of their choice, and by designing correspondingly nimble data collection instruments.
Even with such innovation, some research questions require data beyond what surveys produce. Researchers have long relied on a complementary qualitative or administrative data for various purposes. Now, data from non-probabilistic panels, as well as data not originally generated for research purposes—from social media, Internet usage, and commercial transactions, among others—are also increasingly available. It is not completely clear to what extent these data meet our research needs, but their proliferation certainly calls for continued evaluation.
AAPOR was pleased to welcome public opinion and survey research professionals from around the nation — and globe — in Boston for the AAPOR 68th Annual Conference.