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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Peter Miller Honored with 2017 AAPOR Award

CHICAGO, IL, May 20, 2017 – The winner of the 2017 AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement is Peter Miller. This award is the Association’s lifetime achievement award. It is given for an outstanding contribution to the field of public opinion research, including advances in theory, empirical research and methods; improvements in ethical standards; and promotion of understanding among the public, media and/or policy makers.
Few people have contributed so much to the field in so many different ways as Peter Miller.  His scholarly work, his work as a faculty member and administrator at Northwestern University, his more recent work at the Bureau of the Census, and his years of service to AAPOR have all left indelible marks on the field and on AAPOR. His commitment to quality and to transparency in research embody AAPOR’s highest ideals.
Peter is an author of a number of papers, but his 1981 paper with Charles Cannell and Lois Oksenberg has been especially influential. This single paper laid out a model of the cognitive processes involved in answering survey questions and also noted how respondents sometimes short-circuited that process. It thus anticipated and paved the way both for the Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology movement and the satisficing model of survey response. This was truly a seminal work. His other scholarly papers exhibit this same commitment to high quality and thoughtful conceptual analysis.
Peter received his Ph. D. in Communication Research from the University of Michigan, and he spent most of his career — a total of 28 years — as an academic at Northwestern University. Over that period, he held a number of posts, including teaching in the Department of Communication Studies, chairing that department, and serving as an Associate Dean of Northwestern’s School of Communication. He was a well-respected and effective mentor to many students there, several of whom have gone on to become successful researchers and prominent AAPOR members in their own right. 
In 2011, Peter joined the staff of the United States Bureau of the Census, where he became the head of the Center for Survey Measurement and later chief scientist in the Center for Adaptive Design. At the Census Bureau, Peter has been a tireless advocate for quality and innovation. His championing of adaptive and responsive design has helped move the Census Bureau forward in maintaining quality in the face of rising costs and falling response rates.
Peter’s service to AAPOR has been left a special mark on the association and the field. Peter was the Editor of Public Opinion Quarterly for eight years, from 2001 to 2008. His tenure at POQ was stellar — he shepherded the transition of the journal from the University of Chicago to Oxford University Press and oversaw the move to electronic submission of articles and reviews. He also introduced the Research Synthesis section of the journal and the annual special issues. He was an excellent editor, who actually edited the articles and was widely admired for his deft editorial touch. As AAPOR president, one of his major accomplishments was launching the Transparency Initiative, which has proven to be a particularly long-lasting and influential achievement. Finally, he headed up the AAPOR committee that developed the proposal for AAPOR’s second peer-review journal, the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology.

His many accomplishments have changed POQ, AAPOR, and the field for the better.

The American Association for Public Opinion Research is happy to honor Peter Miller for a career marked by so many exceptionally distinguished achievements.