AAPOR Developing Strategic Plan

Roger Tourangeau, Councilor at Large

Both AAPOR and the field of survey and opinion research are undergoing major transitions.  For instance, many researchers think that telephone surveys are confronting more serious challenges now — including falling response rates and lower coverage of the general population — than at any time since telephone surveys first became a popular method for collecting data.  New technologies, such as Web surveys and online panels to provide respondents for such surveys, continue to emerge and continue to present new methodological challenges to AAPOR members. 

To confront the technological and social transformations affecting our field, AAPOR has responded by appointing task forces to study the emerging problems and to issue reports that summarize what is known about them.

But AAPOR itself has also undergone some major changes over the last few years. The membership has grown, the conference has gotten bigger and longer and AAPOR has turned to a new management group to help run the organization.   Council has responded by appointing a task force to develop a strategic plan for the organization. The strategic plan will deal with issues like how much should AAPOR grow, how it can attract new members and how it can increase the benefits it offers to its members.  

In December AAPOR’s Executive Council appointed the Strategic Planning Task Force: Roger Tourangeau (councilor-at-large) as chair, Reg Baker (associate standards chair), Stephen Blumberg (standards chair), Jon Cohen (associate communications chair), Michael Link (conference chair), Frank Newport (president-elect and vice president), and Nancy Whelchel (membership chair).  

Currently, the task force is attempting to develop a mission statement for AAPOR and an assessment of AAPOR’s strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, it will lay out a plan to guide the organization over the course of the next few years.  As Roger Tourangeau noted, “AAPOR hasn’t really done much in the way of long-range planning since 2005-2006, and it’s time to take another look at the goals of the organization, given the important changes in the environment and in the membership of AAPOR.” 

The task force members have reviewed some of the results of past surveys and will almost certainly conduct a new survey of the membership to guide the development. “Given who we are,” Tourangeau commented, “how could we NOT do a survey?”  The task force is aiming to have at least some preliminary results to discuss at the annual conference this year.