ESRA now makes three awards at its biennial conference to acknowledge outstanding achievement in survey research.

The awards are the best paper presented at the conference, the Early Career award and the Outstanding services to survey research which is intended to acknowledge sustained and high level contributions, of a methodological, substantive, or infrastructural nature.

Outstanding Service to Survey Research to Jaak Billiet

The ESRA board awarded the 2015 prize for Outstanding Service to Survey Research to Jaak Billiet.  Jaak Billiet is professor emeritus in methodology at the Centre for Sociological Research at the University of Leuven where he became a professor in social science methodology in 1979. He received the prize for his impressive contributions to the foundation and quality improvement of international survey projects. In Belgium, he is a founding father of the General Election Surveys and the survey research into ethnocentrism, anti-immigration attitudes, political attitudes, voting behaviour, and religious orientations. He obtained the Francqui chair at the University of Brussels in 1993, and he is member of the Flemish Royal Academy of Sciences & Arts (Belgium). At the international level, he acted as member of the Central Coordinating Team of the European Social Survey (2001-2010), as president of the executive committee of the European Values Study (2006-2008), as vice-president of ESRA (2010-2013), and as co-editor of Survey Research Methods. Numerous inspiring publications testify to his significant contribution to methodological work on non-response, measurement error, validity assessment, cross-cultural measurement equivalence and to the link between surveys and substantive work.

2015 Best Paper award: Jolene D. Smyth, Kristen Olson and Alian Kasabian

The award for the best paper published in ESRA’s journal “Survey Research Methods” in 2013-2014 goes to Jolene D. Smyth, Kristen Olson and Alian Kasabian from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The paper is entitled “The Effect of Answering in a Preferred Versus a Non-Preferred Survey Mode on Measurement”. The prize committee noted this is the first paper to examine whether there is a relationship between answering in a preferred survey mode and survey quality. The paper is based on results from multiple experiments in a large scale survey, the clarity of writing is exemplary and the paper is technically sophisticated using, for example, negative binomial regression to adjust for overdispersion.

2015 Early Career award: Christoph Kern

Christoph Kern from the University Duisburg-Essen was awarded the early career prize for his paper “Comparing coefficients of nonlinear multivariate regression models between equations” (jointly with Petra Stein).  The prize committee noted the paper takes a known (if often ignored) problem with the interpretation and comparison of nonlinear regression coefficients in logit and probit models and develops a novel solution, based on structural equation modeling with a widely used software package. The author nicely demonstrates that the existing solutions to these problems, due to Allison and others, are special cases of a more general SEM solution, which can produce equivalent model likelihoods but in a more flexible setting. As such, this is a genuinely novel, and useful, contribution to the literature.

Honorable mentions:  Marco Haenssgen and Cynthia McLauchlan.

2013 Outstanding Service prize: Professor Willem Saris

The 2013 ESRA award for Outstanding Services to Survey Research was awarded to Professor Willem Saris. Professor Saris studied Sociology at the University of Utrecht and received his PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam in 1979. He became Full Professor in Political Sciences in 1983, specializing in the methodology of the social sciences. He has held tenured posts at the University of Amsterdam (1983-2006), the ESADE School of Business (2005-2009), and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (since 2009). His main methodological specializations are structural equation modelling and survey research, fields in which he has published extensively. As a member of the central coordinating team of the European Social Survey he became laureate of the Descartes Research Prize in 2005 for the best scientific collaborative research. In 2009 he received the Helen Dinerman award from the World Association of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), in recognition to his lifelong contributions to the methodology of public opinion research. In 2011 he received the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Debrecen in Hungary. He is a founding member of the European Survey Research Association (ESRA), of which he was president between 2005 and 2011.

2013 Early Career Researcher Award: Daniel Oberski

Daniel Oberski of Tilburg University was awarded the prize for his paper,  “Evaluating partial measurement invariance by examining its consequences for conclusions of interest”. The prize committee noted that this papers is novel, relevant and an important for cross-cultural research. The author demonstrates a high level of analytical skill. His study provides statistical arguments, simulation, and applications with real data that refer to published studies. The study is likely to have both a methodological and a substantive impact in the field.  The author shows great skill in developing the EPC-interest measure (Expected Percent Change), evidences the accuracy of the measure by means of a simulation study, and illustrates the utility of the approach by means of two applied substantive models. The committee agreed that this is a very strong paper which merits publication in a very good journal.

2011 Outstanding Service prize: Professor Roger Jowell

Roger Jowell founded the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), now Britain’s largest social research institute, which he directed from 1969 until 2001. In 2001, with international colleagues, Roger set up the European Social Survey (ESS), a 34-nation comparative study of changing social values throughout Europe which was awarded the Descartes Prize in 2005. In 2003 he moved with the ESS to City University, where he became Research Professor and Founder Director of the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys. Roger was appointed CBE in 2001, knighted in 2008 and very sadly passed away in 2012.

2011 Early Career Researcher Award: Jorre Vannieuwenhuyze

Jorre, of the University of Leuven, was awarded the prize for his paper (joint with G. Loosveldt) “Evaluating Relative Mode Effects in Mixed-Mode Surveys: Three methods to disentangle selection and measurement effects”. The awarding committee noted that the paper tackles an awkward problem in survey methodology; if you perform a mixed-mode survey and the results differ between modes, what part of the difference is caused by selection effects and what part by measurement effects? The authors give a nice and rather complete theoretical overview of the methods that are used in the past to answer this problem. They clearly expose problematic assumptions of the most widely used methods of studying mode effects, and propose two possible alternatives. The paper deals with the insights from a formal point of view and outlines the potential advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. In full awareness of the limits of the proposed methods, this paper offers a more than welcome addition to current practices in the field.

Honourable mentions were recorded for the papers by: Ian Brunton-Smith, Rafael Studer and Dmitryi Poznak.