Who We Are and Our Mission

In March, 2008, the leaders of over forty academic survey research organizations agreed to join  together to form a new association of organizations, the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations [AASRO].  Their vision was that AASRO would grow to be recognized as a leading voice in support and promotion of excellence in survey research conducted in academic settings. In May, 2008 AASRO became a formal organization with the mission of facilitating mutual support among member organizations in the following ways:
  • Promote excellence and integrity in the conduct of survey research;
  • Help academic survey centers advance the research, educational and service goals of their respective colleges and universities by providing both formal and informal education and training for effective organization and administration of academic survey research organizations;
  • Ensure the ability of academic survey centers to educate the next generation of survey researchers by advancing the educational and research role of survey research organizations across diverse university structures;
  • Advance society and the social and behavioral sciences by promoting the values of academic survey research: methodological innovation, scientifically-grounded data collection practices and public dissemination of important survey research results.


Nathan Palmer from Washington State University has been named winner of the John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship

Nathan Palmer from Washington State University Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC) has been awarded the 2015 John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship by the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO). The award provides a scholarship in memory of John Tarnai, former AASRO president, and recognizes an outstanding but relatively new Survey Center employee with great promise for pursuing a long-term career in survey research.  The scholarship defrays the cost of attending the annual meetings of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) or the International Field Directors and Technology Conference (IFD&TC).

In nominating Nathan for the scholarship, Dr. Rose Krebill-Prather, Assistant Director of SESRC, wrote: “Nathan has a strong commitment to further learning more about survey methods and producing quality survey data. Toward that end, Nathan plans to eventually pursue a graduate education to obtain a Ph.D. in Sociology.”  

When Nathan first came to SESRC in 2012 having just completed a Master’s degree in statistics, he was put to work as a telephone interviewer rather than as the data analyst he had trained to be.  He enthusiastically embraced the new work, and was soon promoted into data collection supervisor and then data manager positions.  Nathan quickly learned SESRC’s CATI and web programming software, combining his technical skills, newly acquired familiarity with front-line interviewing, and a careful eye for detail to maintain data quality and operational efficiency on complex and multi-mode projects. Dr. Krebill-Prather notes that, “consistently, Nathan is mindful of the specifications for each survey project and raises good questions about procedures and makes suggestions that promote and preserve data quality.”

Nathan demonstrates a keen interest in methodological rigor and research, showing a particular affinity for questions of visual design issues, time of day/day of week variation in response, and the effect of different survey modes on data outcomes.  According to Dr. Krebill-Prather, “Nathan has indicated he would like to be more involved with survey research methods so that we are better able to get the results the client is truly after, which is not necessarily the answer the client might expect, but the results that are accurate and precise.” 

The AASRO Awards Committee was especially impressed with the speed at which Nathan immersed himself in the survey project work and the energy with which he has pursued additional survey research methods training since being hired by the SESRC.  He not only regularly attends monthly AAPOR webinars, but took on responsibility for scheduling these events for the entire SESRC staff.  In winter 2014, Nathan co-authored a poster presentation highlighting non-response bias issues brought to the fore by a SESRC business survey.  In Spring 2015, Nathan was the first SESRC staff member to inquire about and enroll in a graduate-level survey methods course to be offered by luminary survey methodologist Don Dillman.

Robert Oldendick Named 2015 John M. Kennedy Achievement Award Recipient

Robert Oldendick, Executive Director of the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Public Service and Policy Research and Professor in USC’s Department of Government and International Studies, has been named the 2015 recipient of the John M. Kennedy Achievement Award given by the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO) for his service and leadership in academic survey research.

Oldendick founded the University of South Carolina’s Survey Research Laboratory in 1989 and has directed it for the past 25 years.  “Bob is always teaching, whether you know it or not,” said Dr. Dennis Lambries, a longtime colleague of Oldendick’s at the University of South Carolina.  “Rather than giving you the answer, he asks questions that help you answer your own questions – always with the goal of improving your understanding of the complexities of survey research.   He never makes you feel as though you are imposing on him.  No matter how busy he is, no matter how focused on meeting his own deadlines, he always finds time to for you.  This is true not only of staff, but also students and others seeking his guidance

A founding member of AASRO, Oldendick has been involved since its first meeting, serving on the Executive Committee, the Program Committee and the Education and Advocacy Committee.  He hosted the 2009 annual meeting and served as program chair for that conference. ”Bob Oldendick exemplifies the spirit of AASRO,” said former AASRO president Tom Guterbock.  “From the beginning, Bob has always been willing to share solutions with other survey directors, drawing with wit and wisdom from his extensive research and management experience.”

In addition to his contributions to AASRO, Oldendick has been instrumental in training of the next generation of public opinion researchers.  His book, Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind, with co-author Barbara Bardes, is in its fourth edition and has introduced countless college students to the study of public opinion.  “Bardes and Oldendick is one of the most accessible introductions to understanding public opinion and Oldendick’s commitment to education and mentoring of students is well known” said Andrew Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Oldendick was also a pioneer in his early research on the impact of cellular telephones on survey research. The rise of cell phones has substantially changed many aspects of survey research.  

AASRO's 9th Annual Meeting: Registration Open

Please join your AASRO colleagues for AASRO's 9th Annual Meeting to be held at the Bloustein School for Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University from March 5-7, 2015. Information on the exciting program and details on how to register can be found here. We look forward to seeing you in New Jersey!

Please Nominate Outstanding Colleagues for the John M. Kennedy Achievement Award and John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship

The Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO) is soliciting nominations for the John M. Kennedy Achievement Award and the John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship.  The deadline for nominations for both awards is December 15, 2014. Brief descriptions of these awards are below; full descriptions and nomination forms can be found at: aasro.org/news. Completed nomination forms can be sent to the Chair of the AASRO Awards Committee, Shirley Huck, at shuck@iastate.edu.

The JOHN M. KENNEDY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD honors AASRO member directors, leaders, field leaders, AASRO advocates, academic survey organization professionals, innovators, translational social behavioral scientists, or any other individuals, groups, or organizations with distinguished accomplishments that meet one of more of the following criteria:

meritorious service or help to AASRO or to its member organizations;

accomplished leadership in public opinion research that promotes the value of survey research, enhances public understanding of survey research, fosters advances in survey research methods as a science, improves delivery of survey services, or otherwise promotes quality in survey and public opinion data collection;

advancement or innovation in developing or improving the capabilities of an academic survey research organization (for example, improving client interactions, respondent experience, project management, staff training, quality of survey data collection, fiscal or personnel management); or

promoting or improving the understanding, within their own institutions, of survey research conducted by academic survey research organizations.

The JOHN TARNAI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP will provide an up-and-coming staff member of an academic survey organization with $450 to help cover expenses associated with attending the annual meetings of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and/or the International Field Directors and Technologies Conference (IFD&FTC). Nominations will be accepted from directors of academic survey organizations.  The nominee should be early in their career, be pursuing a long-term career in survey work, and demonstrate one or more of the following criteria:

            commitment to producing quality survey data and related work products;

            commitment to learning and implementing best research practices;

            commitment to advancing knowledge about best research practices;

commitment to sharing and disseminating knowledge within and/or outside the survey organization; or

            commitment to advancing the goals, mission, stability, and longevity of the survey organization.

Please go to aasro.org/news for full award descriptions and nomination forms.

AASRO Supports Efforts to Educate Legislators about the Importance of Funding for Federal Statistical Agencies

In partnership with the American Statistical Association and a number of other major professional organizations and associations, AASRO has expressed support for the funding of US federal statistical agencies by signing onto letters to Congressional representatives. Please see the links below for recent letters: