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Sirken Endows Fund to Recognize Survey Researchers

1 November 2014 No Comment

Monroe Sirken, a longtime member of the ASA, recently provided the association with an endowment fund to recognize a distinguished survey researcher. The honoree will give the first Sirken Lecture at this year’s Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, Washington, and receive a $5,000 honorarium.

“Monroe’s generosity opens an opportunity to recognize outstanding interdisciplinary work by survey researchers,” Ron Wasserstein, ASA Executive Director, said. “By shining a beacon on this work, the Sirken Award will encourage and stimulate future research in this important area of statistical practice.”

Sirken earned his PhD in 1950 at the University of Washington after majoring in sociology with a minor in mathematics. Awarded a Social Science Research Council Post Doctoral Fellowship, he spent the 1950–1951 academic year in the statistics laboratory at the University of California, Berkley, and the following summer at the U.S. Census Bureau. Sirken was a charter member of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and worked there for more than 50 years as chief mathematical statistician and associate director for research and methodology.

Interested in survey methods, Sirken introduced network sampling to improve survey designs of rare and elusive populations and applied the method to a broad range of practical and often intractable survey problems. He strongly advocated conducting survey methods research at the intersection of the statistical, social, and cognitive sciences and information technology. Sirken also introduced the first cognitive research laboratory dedicated to designing and testing survey questionnaires and data presentation methods.

Wasserstein said it is fitting that this award bears Sirken’s name. “Monroe’s contributions to NCHS, to the monitoring of our national’s health, are legendary and still impact the work being done at that agency. Recipients of the award will be highly honored to be associated with Dr. Sirken in this way.”

With the quality of Sirken’s work in mind, the Sirken Award Committee will select the Sirken Lecturer based on outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary survey research that improve methods of collecting, verifying, processing, presenting, or analyzing survey data.

Nominations are due December 15 and should include a nominating letter, three supporting letters, and a curriculum vitae. Send nominations to Pam Craven at pamela@amstat.org.

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