Student Resources

AAPOR is committed to the ongoing education around public opinion research and has compiled this list of resources for students and educators.

What is Public Opinion Research?

Public Opinion Polling Basics (text): A short course by Pew Research Center and Scott Keeter explaining how public opinion polling works.

Public Opinion Research: What it is + Why it’s Important (text): QuestionPro explains what public opinion research is in simple terms.

Who Does Public Opinion Research? 

Erin Fordyce, MS, MEd is a Senior Research Methodologist with NORC. She has over 10 years of social science research experience. Erin has been working with NORC since May 2013 and is currently finishing PhD coursework at Loyola Chicago in the Research Methodology program. Her work primarily focuses on survey design and testing and multi-mode data collection approaches.

When you were a student what was your original plan?
For my undergraduate degree, I studied criminal justice and legal studies. My plan was to work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on human trafficking cases. After interning with a local police department my senior year, I realized that field might not be the best fit for me. While I was passionate about the work, I knew it would be stressful and
require an extreme level of mental toughness.

Read more about Erin’s journey

Rodney L. Terry, Ph.D. is a social science analyst at the Center for Behavioral Science Methods at the U.S. Census Bureau. With nearly 15 years of experience applying qualitative and mixed methods in survey research, he began his career at the Census Bureau conducting research to help improve the measurement of race and ethnicity. Most recently, he leads projects that address equity and inclusion in the workplace, including qualitative research to identify barriers to workplace inclusion for first-generation professionals, and survey research addressing general employee retention issues.

When you were a student, what was your original plan?
Right after I completed my master’s degree in psychology and began working on my Ph.D., I remembered thinking I wanted to work at a world class research institution. Although I appreciated teaching, I did not see academia as my career path. I wasn’t sure where or how it would happen, but that was the plan.

Read more about Rodney’s journey

Anna Weincrot is a senior research director at NORC at the University of Chicago with nearly 15 years of survey research experience. Her current work involves overseeing the design and management of large, complex field data collection projects, but she has been involved in many aspects of survey research, including sample design, questionnaire development and testing, interviewer training, data collection management, and data delivery.  She holds an MPH in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology.

When you were a student, what was your original plan?
Many students studying Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology go on to work as MCH epidemiologists at the local, state, or national level, so this is definitely the direction I saw myself going.

Read more about Anna’s journey

Methods 101: What is Machine Learning, and How Does it Work? (video): Pew Research Center’s Methods 101 series explains the basics of machine learning – using computer programs to identify patterns in data – and how it allows researchers at the Center to analyze data on a large scale.

What is Machine Learning? (video): A collection of videos on machine learning from the Royal Society.

Quantitative Market Research: The Complete Guide (text): A guide to quantitative market research from QuestionPro.

Methods 101: Survey Question Wording (video): Pew Research Center’s Methods 101 series helps explain question-wording – a concept at the center of sound public opinion survey research – and why it’s important.

Response Rates – An Overview (text): AAPOR explains that calculating response rates has historically been central to survey research in the United States because of the assumption that the larger the proportion of participating sample units, the more accurate the survey estimates.

Methods 101: Random Sampling (video): Pew Research Center’s Methods 101 video helps explain random sampling – a concept that lies at the heart of all probability-based survey research – and why it’s important.

Methods 101: What are Nonprobability Surveys? (video): Pew Research’s Methods 101 video explores how nonprobability surveys differ from traditional probability-based polls.

Sampling Methods for Political Polling (text): To sample individuals, polling organizations can choose from a wide variety of options as outlined by AAPOR.

Automated Polls (text): AAPOR explains automated polling.

Online Panels (text): AAPOR explains the basics of online paneling.

Margin of Sampling Error/Credibility Interval (text): AAPOR explains the margin of sampling error.

Methods 101: Mode Effects (video): In this Pew Research video, Courtney Kennedy walks through what to know about survey mode effects.

Methods 101: How is Polling Done Around the World? (video): In this Pew Research Center Methods 101 video, how surveys are conducted around the world is discussed.