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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Webinar Details

Data Science Trends and Tools for Measuring Attitudes and Behaviors

Michael Link, PhD
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
12:00 - 1:30 PM CDT/ 1:00 - 2:30 PM EDT/ 10:00 - 11:30 AM PDT

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About This Course:


In its broadest sense, “data science” is an interdisciplinary field about scientific methods, processes, and systems to extract information and insights from data in various forms – designed or organic, structured or unstructured. Working across a wide range of topic domains, data science approaches are now used routinely in the commercial sector for measuring or drawing conclusions about people’s attitudes and behaviors and becoming more commonplace in other sectors as well. Operating parallel to or in conjunction with more traditional statistical survey research approaches, data science is having a transformative effect on the ways in which researchers seek to understand attitudes and behaviors. In this webinar we explore some of the major trends in data science as it pertains to the measurement of attitudes and behaviors as well as its relationship with traditional survey approaches. We then discuss at a conceptual level some of the key tools and approaches being used and how they are being applied in the field. In doing so we take a closer look at three of the more widely used areas: machine learning, text analytics, and data visualization. We conclude with a look at where the field of data science is going and its longer term implications for how we measure and understand attitudes and behaviors.


Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding the field of data science and how it relates to traditional statistical survey research efforts.
  • Identifying some of the key methods and tools being used in the field and how they might be applied.
  • Delineating some of the key advantages and disadvantages of data science approaches for understanding attitudes and behaviors.

About the Instructor:

Michael W. Link, Ph.D.
is Division Vice President for the Data Science, Surveys & Enabling Technologies (DSET) Division at Abt Associates, a leading, global provider of policy-based research and evaluation for government, academic, foundation, and commercial clients. Prior to this he was President and CEO of Abt SRBI (a former subsidiary of Abt Associates). With more than 30 years of experience in the field of data collection, Dr. Link is a past President of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, 2014-2015. His research efforts focus on developing methodologies for confronting the most pressing issues facing measurement and data science, including use of new technologies such as mobile platforms, social media, and other forms of Big Data for understanding public attitudes and behaviors. Along with several colleagues, he received the American Association for Public Opinion Research 2011 Mitofsky Innovator’s Award for his research on address-based sampling. His numerous research articles have appeared in leading scientific journals, such as Public Opinion Quarterly, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, and Journal of Official Statistics.