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American Association for Public Opinion Research

AAPOR Profile: Ineke Stoop

by Alian Kasabian
Ineke Stoop is a fairly new member of AAPOR, but a long-standing part of the European survey community. Until her retirement in May 2019, she was Head of Methodology at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research/SCP and was the Deputy Director Methodological for the European Social Survey (ESS). She also was Chair of the European Statistical Advisory Committee (ESAC), and an advisory member of Eurostat. She taught classes and published works on survey design, nonresponse, and comparative surveys. And she is sharing that wealth of experience with AAPOR, as a part of the AAPOR/WAPOR Task Force on Quality of Comparative Surveys.

Ineke was awarded the Outstanding Service Award from the European Survey Research Association in 2019, and she said it was the proudest moment of her life. (She also noted, an excellent beginning of retirement.) She is also very proud of the organizational work she was part of: her team at SCP worked diligently to ensure their studies were methodologically sound, the ESS is considered the gold-standard of cross-national survey research, and ESAC is a useful advisory body (which she described as a challenge in the world of European statistics).

I asked Ineke, with all she does with ESRA and the European statistical community, why maintain an AAPOR membership? She said it started with the Standard Definitions, but the thoroughness of the reports and statements released by AAPOR is inspiring to her, plus the benefits of the journals and conferences. Ineke has only attended one AAPOR conference but described it as a “wonderful and warm community,” and she loved the badge flags for the different roles and memberships. Ineke appreciates how AAPOR is “…open to new methodologies, data and tools, willing to stick their heads out through highlighting problems and developing guidelines, and uncompromising with regard to quality standards.”

Ineke described three main challenges facing our field: 1) funding for surveys and public opinion research. She said funders have a hard time believing that good data requires serious money. “Many believe survey research is not rocket science, but I doubt that (rocket) scientists would underestimate the importance of instrument development and data collection.” 2) The limited number of countries supplying survey methodologists – understanding local, national, and cultural practices is crucial for good data collection. And 3) who is excluded from our data collections, either because they are less likely to respond, or because they are functionally excluded. “Do we care if we exclude the functionally illiterate, the non-residential population, those who are not on the internet, those who don’t speak the majority language, people living in far-away or hard to reach areas, those who are not in the population register, young men, etc.? Depending on the aim of the study I think we certainly should.” All very important considerations as we move forward as a field.

According to Google Scholar, Ineke has been cited 1719 times. Her 2005 book, The Hunt for the Last Respondent (pdf link), and her chapter “Representing the populations: what general social surveys can learn from surveys among specific groups” in the volume Hard-to-Survey Populations both address exclusion in data collection.