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SRMS Launches Webinar Series

1 January 2010 No Comment
Mike Larsen, SRMS Education Officer

    November 10, 2009, marked the first webinar in a series the ASA Survey Research Methods Section (SRMS) is sponsoring this year and next. The webinar, by Mike Brick, was titled “Dual Frame Theory Applied to Landline and Cell Phone Surveys.” Brick earned his PhD in statistics from American University and is vice president and director of the Survey Methods Unit at Westat. He is also a research professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) at the University of Maryland, an adjunct research professor at the University of Michigan, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

    Workings of a Webinar
    Participants register for each webinar for a modest fee. Each registration is allowed one web connection and one audio connection. Multiple persons can view each registered connection. The webinars, which typically last two hours, are a way for a department, agency, or company to deliver educational material to many people at once (e.g., in a conference room equipped with a computer, projector, screen, and speakerphone).

      Handouts are made available a couple of business days before the presentation. During the webinar, the presenter controls the flow of the presentation, which the audience sees on a computer screen in real time. Questions for the presenter can be submitted using the chat feature found on the webinar web page. The presenter can see the questions as they arrive and may have time to answer a few during the webinar. Others can be answered in writing after the talk and a file posted for viewing.

      Nearly 90 people attended the webinar, with more than half completing the questionnaire following the presentation. A common request was to have time for questions, but that is difficult in a two-hour format, so questions from the audience were sent during the webinar and Brick’s answers were posted the next day. Forty-eight people recorded how many people watched the presentation at their location. (A webinar can be watched by more than one person for the same price.) According to responses, there was an average of three people watching per connection, implying that more than 250 individuals participated.

      The second webinar of the series, “The Psychology of Survey Response,” will be presented by Roger Tourangeau on February 9. Tourangeau holds a PhD in psychology from Yale University and is a research professor at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center and the director of JPSM. In 2002, Tourangeau received the Helen Dinerman Award for his work on the cognitive aspects of survey methodology. This is the highest honor given by the World Association for Public Opinion Research. In 2005, he received the American Association for Public Opinion Research Innovators Award. He was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1999 and served as chair of SRMS in 2006. Information about the webinar, including how to register, can be found here.

      Suggestions for speakers and topics can be sent to Mike Larsen, SRMS education officer, at mlarsen@bsc.gwu.edu.

      This article was updated on January 27 to correct the spelling of Mike Brick’s name.

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