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

Virtual Professional Development Program

New.pngThe inaugural virtual professional development program is offered at no extra cost to conference attendees who enjoy added training in a fast-faced yet focused way.
Lecture 2020 Monroe G. Sirken Award Lecture
Survey Reliability: Models, Methods, and Findings
Panel Discussion Teaching survey research in university settings and outside of the classroom
Panel and Demo Gridded population sampling in low- and middle-income countries: Tools, demo, and experiences
Seminar Complex survey data analysis in Stata (signup highly encouraged)
Workshop Persuasive Writing Techniques and Working the Blurb Exercise (signup is open to 30 attendees)
2020 Monroe G. Sirken Award Lecture
Survey Reliability: Models, Methods, and Findings
Thursday, June 11, 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Tourangeau-(1).pngRoger Tourangeau, Westat and University of Michigan

In 2014, Monroe Sirken created an endowment to recognize a distinguished researcher for contributions to interdisciplinary survey research that improve the theory and methods of collecting, verifying, processing, presenting, or analyzing survey data. The 2020 honoree is Roger Tourangeau:
For advancing the theory and application of the cognitive aspects of survey methodology and the psychology of survey response; for applying rigorous experimental designs to study mode effects, methods for collecting data on sensitive topics, and other important topics; for pioneering research on the visual aspects of survey design for web and mobile surveys; for furthering our understanding of the relationship between response rates and nonresponse bias.

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Gridded Population Sampling in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Tools, Demo, and Experiences
Thursday, June 11, 1:15 – 2:45 PM

Organizer: Sarah Staveteig Ford, U.S. Department of State
Moderator: Kristen Cibelli-Hibben, NCHS

  • Dana R. Thomson, Independent Researcher
  • Sarah Staveteig Ford and Matthew Kirwin, U.S. Department of State
  • Stafford Nichols and Magali Rheault, Gallup
  • Jamie Cajka, RTI International
Gridded population sampling methods are becoming an increasingly popular option for probabilistic face-to-face survey samples in countries with poor or outdated sampling frames, as well as in countries where disaggregated population data are unavailable. Free, open-source tools for gridded population sampling are now available. The technique provides a number of advantages for practitioners, such as recency of population estimates, reduction of costs, and flexibility of implementation. However, the method is not without its challenges, including low-resolution data, pixel inaccuracy, and geo-fencing. This session will provide an overview of gridded population sampling methods, a demonstration of an open-source tool available, followed by perspectives and experiences from survey practitioners who have conducted gridded population surveys. Extensions to the method such as machine learning will be showcased, and the overall efficacy, challenges, and benefits of this promising method will be discussed.

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Complex Survey Data Analysis in Stata (signup highly encouraged)
Thursday, June 11, 1:15 PM – 2:45 PM

Presenter: Bill Rising, StataCorp

This workshop will demonstrate how to use Stata for both complex survey data analysis and model visualization. Knowledge of Stata is not required, but attendees are assumed to have some statistical knowledge, such as what is typically covered in an introductory statistics course. We will start by briefly introducing the sampling methods used to collect survey data, how to tell Stata about these methods, and how they affect common estimators, such as totals, ratios, and regression coeffcients. We will then show how variance estimates incorporating the sampling design can be computed simply by using the svy prefix command. Finally, we will talk about poststratification, calibration and subpopulation estimation in some detail, including how to work with certainty sampling units and strata with a single sampling unit. Each topic will be illustrated with an example in a Stata session. Those who bring laptops with Stata installed can work along with the presentation. Attendees will receive course materials as PDF files.

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Teaching Survey Research in University Settings and Outside of the Classroom
Friday, June 12, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Organizer: Chase Harrison, Harvard University

Survey research methods is included in university curricula and can also be taught in a variety of settings and taught to a broad set of audiences. This seminar highlights innovations in teaching survey research in a diverse array of settings, challenges, and curricular approaches.
  • Chase Harrison (Harvard University) presents different active learning strategies, including classroom activities and group projects, implemented in undergraduate courses with small and large enrollments.
  • Rebecca R. Andridge (Ohio State University) discusses integrating survey methods instruction in a course on survey sampling taught in a professional biostatistics curriculum
  • John M. Kennedy (Indiana University) focuses on similarities and differences involved in teaching the same course in a classroom setting, versus online, versus using a blended teaching mode.
  • Mario Callegaro (Google) discusses teaching survey methodology to data scientists who are sophisticated about data but not necessarily survey methods.
  • Sonja Ziniel (Children’s Hospital Colorado) discusses designing survey methodology workshops for healthcare professionals.
  • Paul Schroeder (COPAFS) introduces teens to survey methodology by reiterating what they have already learned, presenting new theorems, and demonstrating the predictive power of survey research.
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Professional Development Workshop on Persuasive Writing for Researchers
The 2017 and 2018 AAPOR conferences offered 90-minute professional development workshops on unconscious bias and mentoring, respectively, by an expert on the topic. The 2020 AAPOR conference offers a professional development workshop on persuasive writing for researchers by Ellen Marks.
Why is persuasive writing important for researchers? Research is ultimately a business. No matter how noble the intention or the objective, the reality is that researchers need funding to conduct their work. To obtain funding, our theory, methods, and findings presented in research proposals, reports, and articles must be persuasive to various audiences—peer reviewers, colleagues, funders, admission committees, hiring managers, executives, and the informed public. Audiences must be persuaded both on the merits of the work and on the value of investing resources in the individuals conducting the research and the lines of inquiry they wish to pursue. Often, the ability to persuade rests on the authors’ ability to write effectively so that readers become engaged with their ideas, logic, conclusions, and recommendations.
The Instructor
Marks-(1).jpgWinning contracts and grants to conduct research requires understanding client needs, making strategic choices, using persuasive writing techniques, and bidding to win—all to help individuals and organizations reach their potential to advance science and society by conducting objective research. For more than 30 years, Ellen Marks has successfully applied these approaches as she has led, managed, and participated in developing proposals that have resulted in more than $250 million in awards.

Workshop: Persuasive Writing Techniques and Working the Blurb Exercise
Thursday, June 11, 3:00 – 5:00 PM with breaks (signup is open to 30 attendees and will open on June 2)

This workshop will teach techniques of persuasive writing that can benefit everyone looking to obtain financial support, regardless of experience or type of employment: university faculty, proposal leaders, report authors, early career staff, and those whose native language is not English. Participants will learn effective persuasive writing techniques to improve their written materials. The workshop will describe typical challenges and demonstrate basic principles of effective writing:
  • demonstrate, don’t allege
  • use active instead of passive voice
  • avoid Ninja sentences
  • select word order
  • avoid excessive prepositional phrases
  • use affirmative, positive statements
  • delete fluffy words
  • insert the Hallmark moment 
Working the Blurb: Interactive, Hands-on Exercise
Researchers are often asked to write a short biography about themselves, especially when applying for grants or when competing for funding. The blurb provides an opportunity to highlight the individual’s skills and expertise that make him or her qualified to perform the work. Many researchers, however, sell themselves short. In the Working the Blurb exercise, participants will learn how to write their blurbs using persuasive, professional writing techniques that strongly convey their suitability while simultaneously avoiding either excessive modesty or conceit. Participants are asked to bring a 1-2 paragraph blurb, along with their laptops or tablets. The session will begin with a sample blurb from a recent proposal submitted to a federal government agency. The presenter will go through the blurb and edit it in real time to demonstrate changes—using persuasive writing strategies—to improve the blurb. Next, participants will work as a group to revise a different blurb, using techniques they have just learned. The material will be displayed visually so that all can see the improvements while engaging in feedback and critique. Participants will then revise their own blurbs. Examples of effective changes will be presented for feedback and critique; text that participants are having trouble revising will be presented for discussion and suggestions.

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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.