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May 19 2015

Research Seminar: Emerging Issues in Survey Research: An Australian Perspective -Paul Lavarakas and Darren Pennay (Social Research Center, Melbourne Australia)


This presentation will briefly describe the survey research landscape in Australia and draw some comparisons between Australia and the U.S. A brief overview of the Social Research Centre will be provided as will the rationale and impetus for the establishment of the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods (AusCen) based at the Australian National University (ANU), located in Australia's national capital, Canberra. The emerging issues in Australian social research are not dissimilar to those being faced in the U.S. and include advancing the use of quality frameworks for social research, efforts to improve response rates and the development of address based sampling approaches and probabilistic online panels. Opportunities for collaboration between Australian and U.S. researchers will also be discussed.

Bios of the authors:

Darren Pennay is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Head of Research at the Social Research Centre. Darren is also an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods (AusCen) at the Australian National University and an Adjunct Professor with the University of Queensland's Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR). Darren has worked in social research and survey design since 1984. He has previously worked with the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Reark Research and the Wallis Consulting Group. Darren formed the Social Research Centre late 2000 to develop a centre for excellence' in government and social research and to offer government and academic researchers the choice of working with an agency specialising in this area of research. In the fifteen years since, the Social Research Centre has grown from a single person start up entity to Australia's leading supplier of social research services to government and academic institutions.

Darren has played a leading role in the introduction of dual-frame telephone surveys to Australia and is a leading proponent of the Total Survey Error approach to survey research. In 2014 he was awarded the Research Industry Council of Australia's Research Effectiveness Award for Innovation and Methodology for his role in introducing dual-frame telephone surveys into Australia.

Paul J. Lavrakas, is a research psychologist who serves as an independent consultant to several public, non-for-profit, and private sector organizations. This includes survey as senior methodological advisor to the Social Research Center in Melbourne. Dr. Lavrakas was a tenured Professor at Northwestern U. (1978-1996) and Ohio State U. (1996-2000). At both universities he was the founding faculty director of their respective survey centers. For 2000-2007, he was a vice president at Nielsen and their chief methodologist.