Minutes of the August 7, 1996 ASA Survey Research Methods Section (SRMS) Business Meeting


Meeting called to order: 6:25 p.m.

Special Award
David Binder opened the meeting by making a special award to Bill Kalsbeek for outstanding service to the SRMS during the past year. He acknowledged Bill’s work in authoring an SRMS page on the World Wide Web, arranging for a new section logo, and developing a laptop presentation based on the What is A Survey? brochures. He was a major contributor to the What Is A Survey? series, and in general went way beyond the requirements expected of a Publications Officer. David presented Bill with a t-shirt emblazoned with the new SRMS logo and a plaque that contained a citation describing his outstanding personal contributions to SRMS.

David also cited three other Section members for honorable mention for their contributions this year:

Treasurer’s Report
Terry DeMaio distributed copies of the treasurer’s report. She noted two large expenditures that were made during the past year: printing of the What Is A Survey? brochures and publication of a proceedings containing the contributed papers from the Survey Measurement and Process Quality Conference. She noted that neither interest nor royalties from the conferences co-sponsored by SRMS have been posted to the books yet. The current cash-on-hand balance is $21,431.

Bill Kalsbeek gave the publications report. SRMS now has a home page on the World Wide Web, which serves as a primary vehicle for communicating between members. A number of informational items have been placed on the home page. He would like to get feedback from section members about what they would like to see on the home page. He also noted that we need a separate person to serve as the Webmaster.

Bill described the laptop presentation he developed based on the first three What Is A Survey? brochures, and invited people to view a demonstration of it after the meeting. It is appropriate for presentations to schools, clubs, civic associations, etc. The Section contributed money towards the development of the laptop presentation, and it will be available for use by Section members. Interested persons can contact Bill and get the discs to make their own presentations.

Next Bill discussed the SRMS Proceedings. He noted that only half of the presenters put their papers in the Proceedings, and made a pitch for encouraging paper presenters to do so. There have been some problems with people who do not follow the prescribed ASA format. Papers may be rejected if their layout strays too far from the prescribed format. The Proceedings constitute the Section’s main source of income and expenses. Bill encouraged the membership to take a role in marketing the Proceedings. ASA will provide assistance. He invited members to contact the ASA office if they have marketing ideas. He also noted that we had a three-year agreement with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), which involved including relevant AAPOR papers in the SRMS Proceedings. This has not resulted in an increase in Proceedings sales. We need to ask AAPOR to help market the Proceedings, and we may need to ask for page charges from AAPOR contributors if the situation does not improve.

What Is A Survey? Brochures
Fritz Scheuren reported that the fourth pamphlet in the What Is A Survey? series (Judging Quality of a Survey) is out. It has received a favorable reaction, and is helpful outside the statistical community as well as inside. The series has expanded beyond its original scope (nine are now planned) and we need to find alternative sources of support. This has been an extremely successful initiateve, and we want to promote and expand it.

Wendy Alvey announced that the July issue of the Newsletter was recently issued, and apologized for the plethora of e-mail messages to Section members who receive the electronic version of the Newsletter.

1996 Conference Program
Cathy Dippo reported that she received approximately 130 abstracts and organized 35 sessions. About 40 percent of the papers were not received by the June 1 deadline for submission to the ASA office. This resulted in a time-consuming effort to track down the non-compliers.

1997 Conference Program
Mary Mulry noted that SRMS will have five invited sessions for next year’s conference. They are pretty well organized: one will be a synthesis of CASM II, a small conference focusing on the cognitive aspects of survey measurement to be held in the spring; one will evaluate the quality of U.S. business establishment frames (Dun and Bradstreet, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Census Bureau); one deals with calibration with many benchmarks; one deals with issues related to confidentiality, data security, and privacy. Two other sessions are also suggested: business customer satisfaction surveys, and surveys and environmental statistics. One of these will be entered in the invited paper competition.

A new feature of the program next year will be invited poster sessions. Mary noted that she is open to suggestions, and Bill Kalsbeek’s laptop presentation was suggested as an appropriate topic. She also issued an invitation for Section members to organize special topic contributed sessions.

Council of Sections
There is a new on-line directory up on the ASA World Wide Web page. The passive option has been exercised in developing the directory. All members are included unless they tell ASA they do not want to be included.

David reported that the SRMSNet is now up and running this year. There have been flurries of interchanges on such topics as software packages and probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling. It has been a great success as a way of getting information out to members quickly. It is open to anyone, even non-section members. Instructions to join are included on page 6 of the July Newsletter. He expressed thanks to the University of Maryland, which provides service to administer the net.

Results of Election
David expressed contgratulations to the newly-elected members of the Executive Committee. They are as follows: Chair-elect--Donald Rubin; Program Chair-elect--Betsy Martin; Secretary/Treasurer--Lars Lyberg; Publications Officer--Chuck Proctor, and Council of Sections Representative--Colm O’Muircheartaigh.

New Fellows
Serveral SRMS members were inducted as new ASA fellows. They include Mike Brick, Gerry Gates, Phil Kott, Ken Pollock, Poduri Sam Rao, and Clyde Tucker. Thanks to Jon Rao for chairing the nominating committee. Barbara Bailar will chair next year’s nominating committee. She would welcome any suggestions for new fellows.

Continuing Education
It was reported that there was one SRMS-sponsored Continuing Education (CE) course this year, on list-assisted telephone surveys, taught by Bob Casady, Jim Lepkowski, and Clyde Tucker. However, Donna Brogan noted that she taught one on the selection of random samples for surveys, that was not advertised in the Newsletter. (NOTE: it was later determined that Barry Graubard, a member of both SRMS and Biostatistics, proposed Donna’s course as well as one on SUDAAN, which was given by Rick Williams and Vince Iannacchione).

There was a discussion about the funding mechanism for CE courses. There is a new mechanism in place for next year, which will lessen the likelihood that proposed sponsored courses will be rejected by the CE Committee. Sections will have a choice of sponsoring a course or not. If they choose to sponsor, they take a risk of losing money if the courses don’t turn a profit (generally, about 25 people). If they choose not to sponsor, they take no risk and accrue no profit. An alternative would be to sponsor workshop, either 1/4 day or ½ day. This involves less work by ASA, and the Section gets no profits.

The Section could take a role in making sure the courses are successful. One way would be to co-sponsor courses with other sections. Then both sections could share the risk as well as the profits. Anyone with ideas for courses should contact Steve Miller or Clyde Tucker.

The InterCASIC Conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas in December. The preliminary program has been mailed to all Section members. There will be 31 monograph papers, 87 contributed papers, 12 demonstrations, 48 technical papers, and some workshops. The SRMS website is also advertising the conference, and David encouraged members to attend.

A conference, which would be the next in the series, has been proposed on the topic of nonresponse in surveys. Planning is in the very preliminary stages. The Executive Committee expressed its confidence and support in principle, and has requested more information before making a financial commitment.

Strategic Planning
The ASA is promoting the idea of strategic planning. They have formed a Strategic Planning Committee, and are seeking input toward deciding the future of ASA in five to ten years from now.

Other Business
Wendy Alvey noted that the Board of Directors has approved a membership survey. Anyone with ideas should contact someone on the Membership Committee. Anyone interested in providing comments on the ASA constitution should get in touch with Rod Little.

A question was raised from the floor about the process of identifying topics for the What Is A Survey? brochure series. The idea is to piggyback onto the work of Section members, people who have or are close to completing a project. The next one to come out will be on pretesting questionnaires.

Kirk Wolter, the incoming SRMS president, commended David for his work during the past year. He noted that David has put lots of energy into furthering the interests of the section this year.

Meeting adjourned: 7:30 p.m.

Return to :
American Statistical Association (ASA)
ASA Survey Research Methods Section

Send comments and suggestions.