Symposium on

New Directions in Computational Social Science & Data Science

April 25 9 - 5pm April 26 9 - 12pm

Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing

University of California, Berkeley

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Creating the Third Era of Survey Research

Matt Salganik

We are in the midst of the gradual decay of second era of survey research, an era that has been dominated by telephone surveys and random digital dialing. Changes in technology and society mean that this approach is growing increasingly expensive and unreliable. Fortunately, these same changes in technology also enable us to create an even more vibrant and exciting third era of survey research. In this talk, I’ll briefly sketch some of the likely characteristics of the third era. Then, I’ll talk in more detail about some of my own work developing a new approach to surveys. Drawing inspiration from online information aggregation systems like Wikipedia and from traditional survey research, I’ll propose a new class of research instruments called wiki surveys. Just as Wikipedia evolves over time based on contributions from participants, we envision an evolving survey driven by contributions from respondents. I’ll also talk about our open source website that enables everyone in the world to run their own wiki survey for free and provides us a steady stream of participants for future methodological research.