Associate Professor of Sociology and of Survey Research and Methodology
Ph.D. University of Michigan
Areas of Specialization:
My research focuses on understanding the causes of and remedies for nonresponse and measurement errors in sample surveys and how these two error sources interact. Survey research is one of the fundamental tools of sociological research. As such, understanding how to identify and rectify errors in survey research is essential for advancing sociological research. First, I aim to extend research on the effects of survey nonresponse by studying the specific circumstances that contribute to nonresponse error on statistics estimated from sample surveys. Although response rates have traditionally been used as an indicator of nonresponse error, recent research has shown that there is no clear relationship between nonresponse rates and nonresponse bias. I then incorporate this information into statistical adjustments to reduce the effect of nonresponse bias on conclusions based on survey data. I also examine whether individuals who pose difficulties being contacted or are reluctant to cooperate provide better or worse quality answers than individuals who are easier to contact or more eager to cooperate with the survey request.
My research also extends to investigate the influence of interviewer characteristics on the quality of survey reports. Several studies have established that interviewer race and gender are associated with respondent reports of race and gender-related attitudes. There is little research, however, on the effects of education, age, and more importantly, experience level of interviewers on the quality of survey reports. Even less is understood about whether interviewers change behaviors as they gain experience over the course of their career or within a particular survey. My research investigates the effects of these interviewer characteristics on survey reports to provide a basis for corrections to interviewer effects.