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.


AASRO Endorses the AAPOR Transparency Initiative

During its annual meeting, held this year at the Bloustein School at Rutgers University March 5-7, 2015, the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO) formally endorsed the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative by unanimous vote.

The AAPOR Transparency Initiative identifies organizations that are willing to publicly disclose their basic research methods and make them available for public inspection. The Initiative marks organizations that value openness, and formally recognizes them for their commitment to transparency in research methods.

Currently several AASRO members have formally joined the Initiative, and as part of the underlying mission of AASRO, to promote excellence and integrity in the conduct of survey research, we strongly encourage all member organizations to become part of the Initiative.

Current AASRO member organizations that have joined the Transparency Initiative are:

  • Cornell University's Survey Research Institute
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind
  • High Point University Survey Research Center
  • Indiana University Center for Survey Research
  • Marist Poll
  • Rutgers University Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling
  • Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College
  • Temple University's Institute for Survey Research
  • University of Illinois at Chicago Survey Research Lab
  • University of Nebraska Bureau of Sociological Research
  • University of Northern Iowa Center for Social & Behavioral Research
  • University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social & Urban Research
  • University of Virginia Center for Survey Research

For more information about the Transparency Initiative: http://www.aapor.org/AAPORKentico/transparency.aspx

For a list of Transparency Initiative members: http://www.aapor.org/AAPORKentico/Transparency-Initiative/Charter-Members.aspx

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 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:




John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship Fund donations are tax deductible, AASRO achieves 501(c)(3) status

Your donations to the John Tarnai Scholarship Fund are tax deductible! The Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO) is pleased to announce it has received 501(c)(3) status and is now fully recognized and approved by the IRS as a tax exempt nonprofit organization. Donations made to AASRO and AASRO awards are officially tax deductible.

The Tarnai award offers the opportunity for academic survey center staff new to the field, young professionals, or early career to experience first-hand the training, engagement, and development that comes from participating in professional survey conferences.  This award acknowledges Tarnai’s dedication and passion towards mentoring and developing the next generation of survey researchers. John had a strong belief that exposing staff to the methodological challenges, the career opportunities, the professional community, and the importance of collective problem solving would help them better understand and be more prepared for the rapidly evolving environment of conducting surveys.

Tarnai was long time director and a senior researcher of the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center at Washington State University. John devoted years of service towards supporting academic survey research. He was a long time active member and professional contributor to AAPOR and IFD&TC. He was one of the founding members of AASRO. We celebrate his memory and gracious service by offering this award.

AASRO invites you to celebrate with us by contributing to the John Tarnai Scholarship Fund. 

Anyone wishing to contribute to the John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship Fund may send their donations to AASRO c/o Stephanie Kane, AASRO Treasurer, P.O. Box 3856.  For more details about making donations, Stephanie can be reached at slkane@wsu.edu or at (509) 335-0085.