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American Association for Public Opinion Research

AAPOR Revises Code of Ethics: Focus on Transparency and Disclosure

Monday, May 17, 2010


Media Contact:
Deanna Marchetti, [email protected]
+1 (847) 8205 2651 x 255

With critical challenges facing the practice of survey research, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) announces an expansion and strengthening of its Code of Professional Ethics and Practices.

The new guidelines – approved overwhelmingly by a vote of AAPOR members and announced at the association’s 65th annual conference in Chicago – clarify the association’s principles regarding the application and use of survey research at a time when traditional methodologies face growing pressures and new methodologies are being rapidly developed.

The enhancements include an expanded focus on transparency and disclosure, improved consistency with other codes of professional conduct, new guidelines incorporating the practice of online panel research and other newer modes of data collection, and greater emphasis on our professional responsibility toward survey respondents.

As noted in the Code: “Our goals are to support sound and ethical practice in the conduct of survey and public opinion research and in the use of such research for policy- and decision-making in the public and private sectors, as well as to improve public understanding of survey and public opinion research methods and the proper use of those research results.”

“AAPOR’s improved code brings the association up-to-date with new environmental circumstances in the survey industry, and positions us to deal with fresh challenges as they arise,” said AAPOR President Frank Newport.  

Code review must occur at least every five years per Article IX of the AAPOR Bylaws, and in May 2009, the AAPOR Executive Council authorized an ad hoc committee to review the current Code and make recommendations to the Standards Committee, which led the Code review effort.

The updated Code also reasserts that these obligations of integrity and transparency extend to all research professionals, not just to members of the association.

In all, 26 percent of the active membership voted on the set of changes, with 97 percent supporting the updates.

The full Code of Professional Ethics and Practices is here.

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The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) is the leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals in the U.S., with members from academia, media, government, the non-profit sector and private industry. AAPOR members embrace the principle that public opinion research is essential to a healthy democracy, providing information crucial to informed policymaking and giving voice to the nation's beliefs, attitudes and desires. It promotes a better public understanding of this role, as well as the sound and ethical conduct and use of public opinion research.