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The leading association
of public opinion and
survey research professionals
American Association for Public Opinion Research


Data Collection, Measurement, and Public Opinion During a Pandemic

AAPOR is introducing a mini-conference related to the theme of Data Collection, Measurement, and Public Opinion During a Pandemic. During each time slot, at least three dedicated live sessions will contain papers or panels submitted as part of the mini-conference. The goal of the mini-conference is to serve as a platform and a forum to bring together experts to collectively understand how the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has affected research practices, data collection, elections, federal statistics, and public opinion.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended data collection and public opinion research in unprecedented ways. As the world has been facing challenges to public health and safety due to the growing pandemic, many survey organizations, federal statistical agencies, and public opinion researchers have had to immediately pivot to a “new normal” of data collection. Measurement challenges for a new and growing public health problem were exacerbated by uncertain or potentially inaccurate administrative records documenting the pandemic, in addition to different rules for testing and diagnosis across states and localities within states, complicating our reliance on these administrative records. Public opinion and individual behaviors about the pandemic and toward leaders have changed at lightning speeds. Extended stay-at-home orders, subsequent economic crises, and other feelings of discontent, fueled by acts of violence by police and other government actors, exacerbated unforeseen consequences of protest and violence, including violence against journalists, and renewed calls for activism. All of this took place during the precursor months to the 2020 Presidential Election and while the 2020 Decennial Census was being collected. The goal of this theme is to explore what we as survey researchers and public opinion professionals learned and experienced during the pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. changes to data collection procedures, including changes to surveys already in the field or planning for surveys going into the field;
  2. empirical analyses of changes in field efficiency or success, such as response rates or calling patterns and outcomes;
  3. changes in cost structures due to new infrastructure, changed field procedures, or other modifications; 
  4. the role of survey organizations in providing insights related to contact tracing, antibody testing, and other pandemic monitoring and evaluation methods;
  5. explorations of respondents’ understanding of question wording on pandemic-related topics, including focus groups, interviews, or experiments;
  6. analyses of individuals’ opinions and behaviors during the pandemic;
  7. examination of predictors and consequences of lockdowns, economic upheaval, and social unrest during the pandemic;
  8. assessments of attitudes toward leaders at different levels, including predictors and consequences;
  9. potential impact of the pandemic on voting intentions and voting behavior during the 2020 Presidential election;
  10. impacts of the pandemic on the 2020 Decennial Census;
  11. evaluations of administrative records related to testing, mortality, or other public health resources used during the pandemic; and
  12. data linkages between multiple data sources used to understand the pandemic, including survey data, social media data, hospital data, or other administrative data.

Sustaining Sponsors


Platinum Sponsors


Gold Sponsors

Abt Associates
D3 Systems, Inc.
Marketing Systems Group

Silver Sponsors

Ipsos Public Affairs, LLC
Ironwood Insights Group, LLC


Oxford University Press
Precision Research
Promark Research

Notice to Federal Employees

The Annual AAPOR Conference conforms to the OPM definition of a “developmental assignment.” It is intended for educational purposes; over three quarters of time schedule is for planned, organized exchange of information between presenters and audience, thereby qualifying under section 4101 of title 5, United States Code as a training activity. The AAPOR Conference is a collaboration in the scientific community, whose objectives are to provide a training opportunity to attendees; teach the latest methodology and approaches to survey research best practices; make each attendee a better survey researcher, and; maintain and improve professional survey competency.