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Survey Research Methods News and Announcements

1 February 2015 163 views No Comment

By Phil Kott

    The Survey Research Methods Section (SRMS) had another busy year. We had a full program at the Joint Statistical Meetings, including a well-attended business meeting and mixer. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a mix-up in the scheduling and announcement of the SRMS speed session. Part of the problem was our members have yet to appreciate this wonderful way of presenting their work: a four-minute advertisement in what looks like a standard contributed session (except that a speaker understands she cannot present her entire paper in four minutes) followed by a “poster” session that day, in which each presenter has the opportunity to explain further the results in her paper to interested persons using a set of slides viewed on a large personal computer screen.

    In addition to JSM, SRMS was a sponsor of the conference in honor of Malay Ghosh held at the University of Maryland: “Frontiers of Hierarchical Modeling in Observations Studies, Complex Surveys, and Big Data.” We are sponsoring a number of upcoming conferences and workshops, as well. Our current chair will tell you about those. I want to take a moment to discuss the past.

    Today, there are four journals with links on our website that are particularly receptive to papers on survey research: Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (launched in 2013), Survey Methodology, Journal of Official Statistics, and Survey Research Methods. Not that long ago, much of the best research on survey statistics could only be found in the Proceedings of the Survey Research Methods Section. Links to those papers also can be found on our website. What cannot be easily found, yet, are papers on survey research written between 1974 and 1977, when survey research was a subsection of the Section of Social Statistics. We are hoping to remedy that situation in the near future, thanks to the efforts of Michael Yang and Fritz Scheuren.

    There are many who contributed to SRMS’ activities during the past year, and I would like to recognize the dedication and contributions of those who served on the executive and related committees. These include past-chair Jill Montaquila, treasurer Jill Dever, secretary Sam Hawala, program chair Karol Krotki, program chair-elect Daniell Toth, Council of Sections representatives Chris Moriarity and Jeff Gonzalez, publications officer John Finamore, education officer Marilyn Seastrom, newsletter editors Shelton Jones and Jamie Ridenhour, and webmaster Pushpal Mukhopadhyay.

    A final historical note: The position of SRMS historian has been vacant for many years. Sadly, we lost many of our historical records when our last-known historian passed on those records to an unremembered person. I am overjoyed that Mike (P.) Cohen has taken on the assignment of being our new historian.

    But the business of SRMS is more about the future than the past. We have a vibrant section, well represented by our new chair, Mike Elliot.

    By Michael Elliott

      SRMS has a busy schedule of conferences, webinars, and other educational activities planned for 2015. The section will once again be active when JSM returns to Seattle, Washington, August 8–13. SRMS will sponsor invited, topic-contributed, and contributed paper sessions, as well as continuing education courses, roundtable discussions, and poster sessions.

      This year, JSM is beginning to limit the number of topic-contributed sessions in an effort to increase the number of speed sessions. As someone who participated last year, I think speed presentations provide a great opportunity to combine wide dissemination with deep follow-up discussion, and I would encourage members to consider presenting in this format.

      If you come to Seattle, please be sure to attend the SRMS business meeting and mixer, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, August 12. Section members and non-members are encouraged to attend and enjoy free food and drink, as well as the opportunity to meet former and future colleagues. Members who stay for the meeting can learn about and participate in the governance of both the SRMS and ASA. For those who have heard of the Pacific Northwest’s rains, remember Seattle sees only about 1 in. of rain in August, with mild temperatures and low humidity, so come and enjoy!

      Besides JSM, SRMS will co-sponsor the 2015 International Total Survey Error Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, September 19–22, with a particular focus on Big Data and total survey error. In addition to contributed paper sessions, the 2015 ITSE will feature plenary talks by Colm O’Muircheartaigh and Abe Usher, as well as three full-day short courses.

      Other meetings of interest to section members include the 70th annual AAPOR conference in Hollywood, Florida, May 14–17, the 6th Conference of the European Research Organization in Reykjavik, Iceland, July 13–17, and the ISI Satellite Meeting on Small Area Estimation in Santiago, Chile, August 3–5.

      In addition to the face-to-face courses offered at JSM and ITSE, SRMS is again planning a series of webinars for 2015. Webinars will be announced to members via email and the SRMS newsletter. Information also will be provided on the SRMS website as the year moves forward.

      One of the section’s most important activities is fostering, supporting, and encouraging scholarly work by students entering the field of survey research. To this end, SRMS sponsors or co-sponsors two student awards, the SRMS student travel awards, and the SSS/GSS/SRMS student paper competition. While these awards are open to students only, faculty should encourage students to apply—and to join SRMS, which is free to ASA student members.

      This is a time of great ferment in statistics, as our field is being energized by the emergence of Big Data. Survey statistics—with its long-term focus on selection bias and representativeness, data linkage and disclosure risk, and missing data and massive data sets—is in many ways poised to be at the center of this activity. If you have ideas to share about how SRMS can better serve you and the field—regardless of whether you are a member (especially if you are not a member)—please feel free to get in touch with me at mrelliot@umich.edu.

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