The Ogburn-Stouffer Center for the Study of Social Organizations (OSC) grows out of a decades-long relationship between NORC and the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.
The Ogburn-Stouffer Center promotes innovative, theoretically-informed, empirical research on population, political attitudes and decision making, community, health, social inequality, and social structure. A core mission is to promote the training of graduate students in the social sciences through involvement in all phases of large-scale survey research from development to execution and analysis. The OSC has played a major role under the direction of Edward O. Laumann in the application of social network approaches to the study of social life. Among its major projects has been a series of studies of the social organization of intimate relationships, starting in 1988 with the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS), the first major national representative survey of sexual practices in the U.S. That work continues today in the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) — a national longitudinal study of older Americans — that integrates the study of social networks, relationships, and health by incorporating social science theory and methods with biological markers. The OSC provides support to researchers, visiting fellows, and advanced graduate students to develop research projects that advance our understanding of social life and organization.