Staying on top of industry trends helps us provide our clients with the best data in the industry. With that in mind, Westat Center for Association Services (CAS) staff traveled to New Orleans, LA this May for the 2017 American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Annual Conference. AAPOR is known as the premiere conference to gain a stronger understanding of the ever changing and diverse field of public opinion and social science research.
We were lucky enough to attend many insightful and thought provoking presentations. Our favorites included one on survey design layout and functionality, focused on using visual design to make mail and web surveys more appealing to respondents. The more attractive design translates into more completes and better quality data due to the respondents increased investment and interest in a visually attractive questionnaire.
Other great presentations focused on question design and a panel discussion on increasing survey participation. Clarifying instructions, and wording questions correctly, are key to making sure respondents understand what they are answering, and increased participation leads to better data. As you may know, there has been a decline in respondent participation in survey research across the board, so experimenting with contact strategies and modes has become increasingly important, and the wealth of research from these experiments on display at AAPOR helps us stay on the cutting edge of data and survey research.
How It Affects Associations
Association leaders can’t make good decisions without good data, and techniques and best practices are constantly changing in the data industry. Our CAS staff stays on top of them by working with clients to meet challenges, writing papers, attending conferences, and networking with industry experts both in and outside of Westat so that busy association professionals can focus on issues important to their members.