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

AAPOR 73rd Annual Conference Update

by Trent D. Buskirk, 2018 Conference Chair and Courtney Kennedy, Assoc. Conference Chair
With just a little more than seven weeks to go before we embark on AAPOR 2018 (which by the way starts on Wednesday, May 16th this year!) the conference committee is in high gear adding final touches on the conference program, conference events and logistical details. This year we are literally taking Public Opinion and Survey Research to new heights with a record 112 sessions including 12 sessions in the new PORTAL track and one reimagined DEMO track session (more about these sessions in a moment). We also have an awesome slate of seven short courses that you will likely want to check out if you haven’t already.

Be on the lookout for a new and improved AAPOR Conference APP that has added features this year allowing you to communicate with other conference attendees and a more streamlined way to request papers from presenters. The app will also provide regular daily updates about late breaking sessions, conference logistics and more. The APP isn’t quite ready for its debut yet, but please be on the lookout in the next few weeks about how to download it from your favorite device app store.
This year we have continued to make strides in improving the conference experience for all attendees including an improved series of Poster Sessions. In fact, this year we will hold three different poster sessions (organized by groups of conference tracks) in a portion of the grand ballroom that has been partitioned off just for these sessions. This new approach has allowed us to secure more room for the posters and promises to be an improvement for the flow of conference attendees who want to enjoy all that these poster sessions have to offer. We have also improved the registration for the Speed Networking Event – this year we will have several computer kiosks that you can use to more easily register and schedule meet ups for the Speed Networking Event.
Finally, in closing, let me say a few words about two new aspects of our conference this year on which I have been working a great deal on this year. The first has to do with the PORTAL track. The vision I have for this track in the conference involves helping all of us retool or adapt to the ever-changing landscape we all find ourselves in these days in our Survey and Public Opinion research and practice efforts. The PORTAL track (acronym stands for Public Opinion Research Training and Learning) will have 12 sessions that provide 2 40-45 minute talks per session on new and emerging topics in our field. These talks are given by some of the best speakers we have at AAPOR at a level meant to make these topics accessible by all attendees. We have strategically placed these PORTAL sessions throughout the program in such a way to help attendees take full advantage of additional research presentations dealing with similar topics. For example, there is a PORTAL session on “How to use SMS technologies to collect survey data” happening on Thursday afternoon at the conference. Nearly all papers or panel sessions having to do with SMS methods will take place at the conference following this PORTAL session. The intent is to offer an efficient way to climb the learning curve first with the overview PORTAL session followed by more in-depth, innovative research on these topics in our regular paper, panel and methodological brief sessions. My sincere hope is that these PORTAL sessions will be helpful to new and seasoned professionals alike as we all attempt to navigate the ever-changing survey and public opinion landscape.
The second session I want to highlight is the DEMO track session. This year we will kick off the conference on Wednesday afternoon with concurrent sessions as well as an enhanced, reimagined DEMO track session. This DEMO session will be held on Wednesday May 16 from 1:30 to 3 in 5 small rooms adjacent to the Expo hall. The intent of this session is to give companies offering software solutions for survey research issues a chance to DEMOnstrate their capabilities in a digital poster demo session. We hope that this session will be a productive way to learn about new software solutions that might help solve pressing survey research related issues. We also hope this session will facilitate discussions between developers and users. We are expecting about 12 to 15 vendors for this new session and really hope you will take advantage of this new (and exciting) opportunity at AAPOR.
I wanted to also alert everyone that we now have a live preliminary program available – please check it out! In closing I would like to give you a few of the highlights for the conference so you can mark your calendars and take full advantage of all that AAPOR 2018 has to offer including:
  • Conference Plenary and All Chapter Reception (Wednesday, May 16)
  • Kick Off Meeting for Docents and Mentees (Wednesday, May 16)
  • Book Sale: Hottest books up for sale (Wednesday, May 16 - Friday, May 18)
  • Meet the Author and Meet the Editors: Come meet our famous authors and editors from our flagship journals (Friday, May 18)
  • Speed Networking: Speed around the tables to meet and talk with colleagues from prominent research-based organizations (Thursday, May 17 – Friday, May 18)
  • Fun Walk & Run (Friday, May 18 in lobby @ 7AM )
  • Conference Hoedown: Line Dancing Lessons and Old-Timey Photo Experience (Friday Night)
  • Unofficial Events: The Mercury Cave, Tour of the U.S. Mint – Denver, City O’City, Yoga… keep your eyes on AAPORnet—more details coming soon!
See you all in Denver next Month! Let’s Go AAPOR!
Trent D. Buskirk, 2018 Conference Chair
Courtney Kennedy, 2018 Associate Conference Chair