Surveys are the principal source of data for social science research, as well as for consumer research, political polling, and federal statistics. Federally sponsored surveys like the National Survey of Child Health and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics help policymakers and business owners make informed decisions. Unfortunately, response rates to such surveys have been declining markedly in recent years, putting the validity of survey research into question. The RSF-sponsored report on The Nonresponse Challenge to Surveys and Statistics, published in the January 2013 issue of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, concluded that rising survey nonresponse increases the likelihood of bias and poses a significant threat to the federal statistical system.
In light of recent political threats to social science research, it is essential to educate policy makers about the ramifications of nonresponse and the critical importance of sound social statistics. To that end, the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) will hold a Capitol Hill briefing on April 26, 2013. Officially sponsored by Senator Jay Rockefeller and Congressmen Chaka Fattah and Charles Dent, this briefing will examine the state of survey research and its role in the federal statistical system, assess the nonresponse challenge to major social surveys, discuss alternate approaches for providing more reliable data at less cost, and review ways that Congress can help address this problem.