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. My early work on gender was concerned with how gender is produced and its consequences in the family farm setting where many of the most common strategies that have been identified in the literature for “doing gender” are less available or practical. My more recent work brings together my interest in survey methodology and the sociology of gender by developing and testing a measure of gender that can be asked in addition to the traditional male/female sex question asked in large-scale national surveys. This measure will allow surveyors to measure sex and gender in ways that are more consistent with sociological understandings of these concepts and will allow sociologists to test their ideas about sex and gender with probability based national sample surveys.
I am seeking students who are interested in furthering our understanding of and improving research methods or who want to study gender 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.
I teach Gender in Contemporary Society (SOCI 200) and special topics graduate seminars in Data Collection Methods and Survey Questionnaire Design.
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. https://www.routledge.com/Interviewer-Effects-from-a-Total-Survey-Error-Perspective/Olson-Smyth-Dykema-Holbrook-Kreuter-West/p/book/9780367896317
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. https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Internet%2C+Phone%2C+Mail%2C+and+Mixed+Mode+Surveys%3A+The+Tailored+Design+Method%2C+4th+Edition-p-9781118921302
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. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822X19888707
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. https://doi.org/10.1093/jssam/smy005
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. https://doi.org/10.1111/ruso.12207.
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. https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfj007
* 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)