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October 17, 2005

NSF awards $7.6 million for the American National Election Studies

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $7.6 million to fund the American National Election Studies (ANES) to study the causes of voter participation and candidate choice in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. This award represents a dramatic increase in NSF's funding for the project, more than doubling the financial support it received during 2002-2005.

The ANES was created by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research (ISR) in 1952 and has conducted gold-standard national surveys every two years since then to equip scholars around the world to study American voting behavior and election outcomes. Thousands of books, journal articles, book chapters, and conference presentations have been based upon ANES data during the last five decades.

2006 will mark the first time that the project will be co-directed by the ISR and a partner, Stanford University’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS).

The substantial increase in funding for the project is the result of two years of advisory workshops held by NSF to evaluate the study’s scientific value and innovative directions for its future.

"This award allows us to conduct the project in much bigger and better ways than has ever been possible," said Arthur Lupia, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan and a principal investigator of the project. "We are excited to have Stanford at the helm of the study with us, bringing valuable new expertise in survey design and measurement."

"NSF's ringing endorsement of the project is a wonderful recognition of 50 years of important scholarship by hundreds of social scientists studying elections and will equip them superbly to continue this important work," said Jon Krosnick, the other principal investigator of the project and a Stanford professor of political science, psychology, and communication.

The centerpiece of the 2005-2009 study will be state-of-the-art hour-long interviews with thousands of Americans face-to-face in their homes both before and again after the November, 2008, election. The questionnaires will ask hundreds of questions of respondents, measuring their opinions on a wide array of political issues, their assessments of the health of the nation, their hopes for government action in the future, their perceptions of the candidates and their platforms, their behavioral participation in the campaign and in politics more generally, and much more. Many of these questions have been asked identically every two years since the 1950s, allowing scholars to track changes in the American electorate over time.

In addition, a nationally representative sample of American adults will be recruited during 2007 and will answer questions once a month for 21 consecutive months, continuing well after the presidential inauguration in 2009. This will allow researchers to study which citizens change their candidate preferences when and why during the primaries and general election campaigns and how citizens react to the election outcome after the nation’s new leader begins to govern.

A third component of the new project will be collaboration with another long-term national survey project, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, run by the Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research. As a result, questions measuring political opinions and behavior will be asked of a representative sample of thousands of young adults every two years, illuminating patterns of long-term change of individuals across elections.

The November, 2008, pre-election and post-election face-to-face interviews will employ innovative new measurement techniques for the first time in the ANES, such as using laptop computers to display questions and answer choices confidentially to respondents and allowing them to answer secretly. In addition, for the first time, the computers will show respondents election-related photographs and videos to enhance measurement of what voters learn during the campaign.

The computers will also measure the speed with which respondents make judgments, using the latest techniques from social and cognitive psychology. This will entail the use of measurement tools that have been used extensively in laboratories around the world but have rarely been administered in surveys of representative national samples of adults.

Response speed measurement is one way to elucidate automatic processes that occur unconsciously in the brain and guide political thinking and action. "By combining self-reports that measure opinions and measurements of response speed, we can better understand the impact of sensitive attitudes, including prejudice and stereotyping." explained Lupia.

2006 will mark a substantial expansion of the number of academic disciplines that will influence and be served by the ANES. The Board of Overseers will double in size to include 20 world-renowned professors from political science, psychology, sociology, economics, and communication.

During the coming years, substantial efforts will be mounted to encourage scholars from all of these disciplines and others as well to submit proposals about how the study should be designed and what questions should be asked of the survey respondents.

* * * * *

Contacts:

Jon Krosnick, 650-851-9143

Arthur Lupia, 734-647-7549

NES Homepage: http://www.electionstudies.org/

ISR: http://www.isr.umich.edu/

Stanford IRiSS: http://iriss.stanford.edu/

Posted by vijoy at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2005

NSF awards $7.6 million for the American National Elections Studies

Press Release

Contacts: Jon Krosnick, 650-851-9143 Arthur Lupia, 734-647-7549

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $7.6 million to fund the American National Election Studies (ANES) to study the causes of voter participation and candidate choice in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

This award represents a dramatic increase in NSF’s funding for the project, more than doubling the financial support it received during 2002-2005.

The ANES was created by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research (ISR) in 1952 and has conducted gold-standard national surveys every two years since then to equip scholars around the world to study American voting behavior and election outcomes.

Thousands of books, journal articles, book chapters, and conference presentations have been based upon ANES data during the last five decades.

2006 will mark the first time that the project will be co-directed by the ISR and a partner, Stanford University’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS).

The substantial increase in funding for the project is the result of two years of advisory workshops held by NSF to evaluate the study’s scientific value and innovative directions for its future.

“This award allows us to conduct the project in much bigger and better ways than has ever been possible,” said Arthur Lupia, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan and a principal investigator of the project. “We are excited to have Stanford at the helm of the study with us, bringing valuable new expertise in survey design and measurement.”

“NSF’s ringing endorsement of the project is a wonderful recognition of 50 years of important scholarship by hundreds of social scientists studying elections and will equip them superbly to continue this important work,” said Jon Krosnick, the other principal investigator of the project and a Stanford professor of political science, psychology, and communication.

The centerpiece of the 2005-2009 study will be state-of-the-art hour-long interviews with thousands of Americans face-to-face in their homes both before and again after the November, 2008, election. The questionnaires will ask hundreds of questions of respondents, measuring their opinions on a wide array of political issues, their assessments of the health of the nation, their hopes for government action in the future, their perceptions of the candidates and their platforms, their behavioral participation in the campaign and in politics more generally, and much more.

In addition, a nationally representative sample of American adults will be recruited during 2007 and will answer questions once a month for 21 consecutive months, continuing well after the presidential inauguration in 2009. This will allow scholars to study which citizens change their candidate preferences when and why during the primaries and general election campaigns and how citizens react to the election outcome after the nation’s new leader is elected and begins to govern.

A third component of the new project will be collaboration with another long-term national survey project, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, run by the Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research. As a result, questions measuring political opinions and behavior will be asked of a representative sample of thousands of young adults every two years, illuminating patterns of long-term change across elections.

The face-to-face interviews will employ innovative new measurement techniques for the first time in the ANES, including using laptop computers to display questions and answer choices confidentially to respondents and allowing them to answer secretly. In addition, for the first time, the computers will show respondents photographs of candidates, videos of campaign ads, and other visual stimuli to enhance measurement of information exposure.

In addition, the computers will measure the speed with which respondents make judgments using the latest techniques from social and cognitive psychology. This will entail the use of measurement tools that have been used extensively in laboratories around the world but have rarely been administered to representative national samples of survey respondents.

Response speed measurement is one way to elucidate unconscious, automatic processes that occur in the brain and guide political thinking and action. “Asking people to explain their behavior yields mostly blind guesses rather than genuine self-insight,” explained Lupia. “By combining self-reports that measure opinions and measurements of response speed, we can better understand the impact of sensitive attitudes, including prejudice and stereotyping.”

2006 will mark a substantial expansion of the number of academic disciplines that will influence and be served by the ANES. The Board of Overseers will double in size to include 20 world-renowned professors from political science, psychology, sociology, economics, and communication.

Substantial efforts will be mounted to encourage scholars from all of these disciplines and others as well to submit proposals about how the study should be designed and what questions should be asked of the survey respondents.

* * * * *
Related Links:

Krosnick Homepage: http://communication.stanford.edu/faculty/krosnick.html
Lupia Homepage: http://www.umich.edu/~lupia
NES Homepage: http://www.umich.edu/~nes/
Stanford IRiSS: http://www.stanford.edu/group/iriss/index.html
ISR: http://www.isr.umich.edu/

Project Summary:

Why did America vote as it did on Election Day? The mission of the American National Election Studies (ANES) is to inform explanations of election outcomes by providing data that support rich hypothesis testing, maximize methodological excellence, measure many variables, and promote comparisons across people, contexts, and time. The ANES serves this mission by providing researchers with a view of the political world through the eyes of ordinary citizens. Such data are critical, because these citizens’ actions determine election outcomes.

This proposal seeks to continue the ANES mission for the next four years, but in new and better ways than ever before. It builds on an ANES history that has made the project a valuable resource to generations of social scientists. As has been true for every past presidential election in the ANES time series, a presidential year pre- and post-election study will be conducted using face-to-face interviewing of a nationally representative sample of adults, with an unusually high response rate. This study will include questions specific to the election of 2008 and also questions that augment the ANES time series, which is now in its sixth decade. For the first time, moreover, scholars will be able to purchase interview minutes and additional cases on the time series study to enhance its breadth.

In many other respects, this proposal constitutes a substantial break from the past, outlining new kinds of data collection, new methods for choosing questionnaire items, a new management structure, new organizational procedures to promote the involvement of a broader set of scholars, and a fundamentally different kind of relationship between the ANES and its user community.

One new data collection effort will be a two-year panel study involving six core waves of data collection with the same respondents, plus 15 additional waves of data collection. The first core wave will be in late 2007, before the primaries; the next three core waves will be spread over the months running up to election day; and the final core waves will be in November and May after the election. Data will also be collected during every other month throughout the life of the panel, but with a focus on matters that are not explicitly political, to minimize selective panel attrition or conditioning driven by interest in politics while producing lots of valuable information on respondents. The panel will allow scholars to study citizen politics in new ways and will illuminate how election year politics affect judgments of the new administration in the formative months of its term.

A second new data collection enterprise involves a partnership with the Ohio State University Center for Human Resource Research. They conduct the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which has been interviewing a nationally representative panel of adults and their children for decades with breathtakingly long and varied questionnaires. Questions measuring political attitudes and behaviors will be included in these surveys for the first time, allowing the study of developmental and socialization experiences through the life-cycle and across generations.

To help scholars develop and validate new measurement tools for use in the above-listed surveys, an ANES pilot study will be run in November, 2006, reinterviewing respondents from the 2004 ANES.

The components of this data collection plan each strengthen the others. Alone, each component will allow a broad range of scholars to evaluate the robustness of old and new theoretical claims. In addition, each endeavor will be designed to facilitate coordinated analysis with all the other data collections.

The specifics of the designs of all these studies will be determined by an array of scholars more intellectually diverse than ever before. Its new PIs and Board of Overseers hail from more universities and a broader range of disciplines than any of its predecessors. This proposal describes a new Internet-based procedure for soliciting, processing, reviewing, and providing feedback on proposals for study design elements from anyone who wishes to offer them. All this will be done with an unprecedented transparency to the user community.

Because these activities will generate a huge amount of data, detailed plans have been designed outlining how the management of the study design, data collection, and data dissemination processes will be carried out by the experienced technical staff that is already in place. In addition to coordinating the questionnaire design and fieldwork processes, the staff will maintain and update the study’s huge and multifaceted website by adding the newly collected data and also dramatically enhancing the study’s electronic archives of previously-collected information dating back from the 1940s.

By generating large, multifaceted datasets of high quality, the ANES will equip researchers to learn new and important lessons about the world of politics. These data will be distributed widely and quickly to serve thousands of scholars and to be used in classrooms around the world to enrich research and education.

Americans want to understand how its democracy works. The ANES will help to inform the nation about itself, exploring the causes and consequences of voting behavior and electoral outcomes. With such knowledge, the polity will be better equipped to nurture and refine its system of government.

Posted by cthomsen at 01:28 PM