Professor and Chair Profile Image
Professor and Chair Sociology 709 Oldfather Hall

Curriculum Vitae

Google Scholar

Current Research

I maintain research interests in survey methodology and gender.  My survey methodology interests are driven by an unwavering belief in the importance of high quality data as a basis for science, decision-making, and policy. Thus, my research focuses on how contemporary data collection practices affect data quality and how we can improve those methods to increase data quality. My work covers various aspects of data collection, including questionnaire design in interviewer-, self-administered, and mixed mode surveys; questionnaire design for mobile web surveys; visual design in mail and web surveys; within-household selection in self-administered surveys; survey recruitment; and interviewer/respondent interactions in telephone surveys. I use many methods in my research, including experimentation, eye tracking, cognitive interviews, and behavior coding. I also maintain an interest in the sociology of gender, especially in how to measure gender (in addition to traditional binary measures of sex) in large-scale national surveys.

Student Opportunities

I am seeking students who are interested in furthering our understanding of and improving research methods and who are looking to learn and develop their own research skills and expertise. The type of research I do is useful for students who are seeking either academic or applied positions. 

I am open to advising undergraduate honor’s theses as well as UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience) and USTAR (Undergraduate Sociology Teaching and Research) research projects.

Current Teaching

I teach Gender in Contemporary Society (SOCI 200), Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research (SOCI 362) and special topics graduate seminars Survey Questionnaire Design.

Selected Publications

Olson, Kristen, Jolene D. Smyth, Jennifer Dykema, Allyson Holbrook, Frauke Kreuter, and Brady T. West. 2020. Interviewer Effects from a Total Survey Error Perspective. CRC Press.

Dillman, Don A., Jolene D. Smyth, and Leah Melani Christian. 2014. Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Smyth, Jolene D., and Kristen Olson. 2020 “How Well Do Interviewers Record Responses to Numeric, Interviewer Field-Code, and Open-Ended Narrative Questions in Telephone Surveys?” Field Methods. 32(1):89-104.

Smyth, Jolene D. and Kristen Olson. 2019 “The Effects of Mismatches between Survey Question Stems and Response Options on Data Quality and Responses.” Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology. 7(1):34-65.

Smyth, Jolene D., Alexis Swendener, and Emily Kazyak. 2018. “Women’s Work? The Relationship between Farm Work and Gender Self-Perception” Rural Sociology. 83(3): 654-676.

Smyth, Jolene D., Don A. Dillman, Leah Melani Christian, and Michael J. Stern. 2006. “Comparing Check-All and Forced-Choice Question Formats in Web Surveys.” Public Opinion Quarterly. 70(1):66-77.

* indicates graduate student co-author

Recent Grant activity

2018-2020            Co-Principal Investigator. Conference: Interviewers and Their Effects from a Total Survey Error Perspective.  Kristen Olson (PI). National Science Foundation, SES-1758834. Awarded May 2018. (Total Costs: $90,000).

2015-2020            Principal Investigator. USDA-NASS 58-3AEU-5-0023;  (with Dr. Kristen Olson). Using Statistical and Survey Methodology Research to Improve or Redesign Surveys Related to Science and Engineering. Co-funded by the National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Awarded April 2015. (Total costs: $460,000).

2016-2017            Co-Principal Investigator. Reducing Error in Computer Survey Data Collection – Supplement. NSF Census Research Network. Kristen Olson (PI).  National Science Foundation NCRN-MN supplement, SES-1132015.  Awarded September 2016.  (Total Costs: $517,178).

2011-2017            Co-Principal Investigator. Reducing Error in Computer Survey Data Collection, NSF Census Research Network. Kristen Olson (PI). National Science Foundation, NCRN-MN proposal, SES-1132015. Awarded October 2011. (Total Costs: $2,967,347)

Ph.D., Washington State University

Areas of Specialization:

  • Survey Methodology
  • Questionnaire Design (including Visual Design)
  • Measurement Error and Data Quality
  • Nonresponse Error
  • Mixed-Mode Surveys
  • Gender