Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL INFORMATION

How and when did CSR get started?
Beginning with an internal equipment grant to the Sociology and Government and Foreign Affairs Departments for a calling lab, Professors Thomas Guterbock and Steven Finkel drew up detailed plans for a survey research center in February 1988. CSR's first projects involved conducting class polls within the two academic departments. CSR was constituted as a separate service unit within Arts & Sciences at the University in September 1989, with Mr. Guterbock appointed as directors. From there it developed into a full service polling facility. More recently, CSR expanded into new office space at Old Ivy Road. We now have a 23-station calling lab and are a unit of the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Where is CSR located?
CSR is located on the second floor of 2400 Old Ivy Road in Charlottesville, Virginia with other units of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Our mailing address is:

Center for Survey Research
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400767
Charlottesville, VA 22904

SERVICES

What kinds of projects are done at CSR?
CSR has conducted a wide range of projects. We have worked on behalf of academic researchers, government agencies, private foundations, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

CSR is experienced with an array of contact modes:

  • Telephone interviewing (with WinCATI)
  • Mail-out survey and contact services
  • Web-based data collection
  • In-person interviewing

CSR has recently purchased SensubWeb 5.0 which expands WinCATI into cyberspace, enabling true multi-mode surveying. The same survey can be programmed on the telephone and web simultaneously with automatic emailing of respondents to indicate completion or to provide reminders or passwords.

What services does CSR provide?
CSR is a full-service research facility. We offer customized project design, professional interviewing, and data collection using the latest survey technologies, as well as data analysis and report preparation.

How much does it cost to do a survey?
CSR's rates are competitive with other academic and commercial survey organizations. Project costs can vary widely depending on factors such as the scope of services you require, the survey methodology used, the number of respondents, the nature of the sample, etc. Costs can range anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000. So while typical projects have been in the $20,000 to $50,000 range, we have also done smaller and larger projects. We invite you to contact one of our senior staff to discuss the scope of your project and factors that govern cost.

What's the best way to collect data for my project?
CSR can advise you on the most productive and cost-effective method for collecting your data: telephone, mail, electronically, or in-person. CSR ensures scientific validity of your study by helping specify procedures for selecting respondents within households, securing cooperation, and following up incomplete interviews or questionnaires.

Who writes the questions for my survey?
CSR can write the question for you or can assist you in writing your own. We will help you determine the best question formats to measure people's opinions, experiences, attitudes, and behaviors. We can advise you on the proper sequencing of items, a critical design feature for maintaining objectivity and ensuring that respondents understand your questions.

Can I get a copy of one of your old reports?
Most are available for a nominal fee. Contact Ila Crawford for details and specific costs.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Can I work at CSR?
Periodically, CSR offers part-time employment for various projects. We frequently utilize employment through UVA temporary services. Full-time University of Virginia students may apply either through the Student Employment section of the Human Resources Department or directly to CSR. All other personnel must apply through the University of Virginia Department of Human Resources.

Whom do I contact about employment opportunities?
Contact Deborah Rexrode at (434) 243-5229 for research project and office management positions. Contact the CATI Lab at (434) 243-5226 for telephone interviewer positions.

SURVEY RESEARCH

Survey research is most simply defined as research that involves systematically asking people questions. Usually, surveys involve scientifically drawn samples of respondents. Here are some useful links for AAPOR and other survey institutions of note.

What is AAPOR?
American Association for Public Opinion Research

What is WinCATI-Sensus Web?
WinCATI is the primary program used at CSR to conduct interviews by phone or via the web. The successor to Sawtooth's Ci3 CATI software package, the software now allows telephone and web surveys to share a database and email system.

What is RDD?
Random-digit-dialing is a method used to give all phone numbers in a selected region an equal chance of being dialed. By adding a random number 4-digit number to a given prefix, a complete telephone number is created. This allows us to reach those telephone numbers that may be unlisted.

What are CATI and CAPI?
Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) is a method of telephone interviewing in which questions appear on the computer screen in programmed sequence as the interviewer presses the keys on the keyboard to record the respondent's answers. Accurate, instantaneous data entry is assured by the system. The computer system stores the database of telephone numbers and is used to control the sampling process, dial each sampled number, schedule callbacks, and record the disposition of each attempted call.

Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) uses similar technology except that the answers are recorded on an individual laptop or other portable device and then later compiled and aggregated. This is used for in-person or face-to-face interviewing.