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Wednesday 15th July, 16:00 - 17:30 Room: O-206

Student Involvement in Surveys

Convenor Professor Mary Gray (American University, Washington DC )
Coordinator 1Mr Emmanuel Addo (American University, Washington DC)

Session Details

Session proposal: Student Involvement in Surveys

There are many ways to include undergraduate and graduate students in survey classes in practical applications of what they are studying. Hearing of successful projects would assist and encourage other academics to involve their students at an early stage of their careers and would provide practical benefits to the students. Such projects also have been found to entice students in substantive fields of survey research to continue and expand their statistical training. Hands-on work that produces tangible results can be inspirational for young people as well as intrinsically valuable, especially when important policy issues are addressed. Such training can be organized not only through colleges and universities but also through groups such as Statisticians without Borders which provides pro bono assistance to NGOs, particularly in the developing world, in a framework that pairs experienced volunteers with novices. A session where examples of such projects are presented will open up broad possibilities for the development of participatory training to conference participants. For example, an exit poll survey in various states within the United States in November 2014 will examine the disparate effect on minority ethnic groups and rural, inner city and low income populations of voter ID laws that suppress access to the polls would be one potential contribution to the session; a successful pilot project in the state of Virginia is the model for this endeavor.

Paper Details

1. Every Vote Counts - Student Generated Exit Polls to Examine Effect of Voter ID Laws
Professor Mary Gray (American University, Washington DC)
Professor Emmanuel Addo (American University, Washington DC)
Professor Kelly Mccolville (Swarthmore College)
Mr Benjamin Muirhead (American University, Washington DC)

Exit polls were conducted by undergraduate and graduate students on November 4, 2014 in Washington DC, Dallas and Philadelphia to explore the effect of voter ID laws on voter turnout. The sampling plan was designed by statistics graduate students. In general the percentage of those unable to vote was under two percent, but in some cases was large enough to have influenced the outcome of the election. Problems with voter IDs were proportionally more prevalent in low-income and minority precincts.

2. Lessons from a student-led exit poll experiment
Dr Iasonas Lamprianou (University of Cyprus)

Teaching and learning is often more successful when the students have the opportunity to engage into practical activities. This study presents the lessons learned from a student-led exit poll in Presidential elections in Cyprus. The activity focused on student training, on embedded quality control procedures and on immediate feedback loops. The design of the survey allowed specific research questions to be investigated and answered. Lessons learned from the study can be directly inform both academics who would like to take similar initiatives but also professionals in the industry.