News Release

Contact: James Barrett, (202) 690-8124

Survey Error Buildup is Topic of 27th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2018 – Can survey errors feed off each other? If so, how can those error bias be reduced, if at all? Roger Tourangeau, Vice President and Associate Director of Westat, will examine two examples of error cumulation in the 27th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture.

Tourangeau will be joined by discussants Kristen Olson, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Jill Dever, Senior Research Statistician from the Division for Statistical and Data Sciences of RTI International.

The lecture takes place on Thursday, Oct. 11 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Jefferson Auditorium (guest entrance between 12th and 14th Streets on Independence Avenue SW). It is free and open to the public but registration is required.

In his presentation, “How Errors Cumulate: Two Examples,” Tourangeau will examine how coverage, selection, and nonresponse errors in non-probability web panels cumulate and whether there is a relationship between response propensities and data quality.

Tourangeau is Vice President and Associate Director at Westat. Before joining Westat in 2011, he was a Research Professor at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center and directed the Joint Program in Survey Methodology for ten years. He is an author on more than 90 research articles. He is also the lead author of a 2013 book on web surveys (The Science of Web Surveys) with Fred Conrad and Mick Couper, as well as lead editor of Hard-to-Survey Populations, published in 2014.

His earlier book (The Psychology of Survey Response, with Lance Rips and Kenneth Rasinski) received the 2006 Book Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). In 2002, he received the Helen Dinerman Award, the highest honor given by the World Association for Public Opinion Research. He was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1999, chaired the Survey Research Methods Section of the American Statistical Association in 2006, was the founding co-editor of the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology, and was President of AAPOR from 2016-2017. He has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale University.

The Morris Hansen Lecture series is one of many public education and outreach activities in which the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service participates each year. The lecture series was established by the Washington Statistical Society to honor Morris Hansen and his pioneering contributions to survey sampling and related statistical methods during his long and distinguished career at the U.S. Census Bureau. The event is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society, the National Agricultural Statistics Service and Westat Inc.

Additional information is available on the NASS website.


NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.

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