Open work areas encourage collaboration
Data Collaboration in the Hyde Park Office NORC Researcher in Bethesda Office Diagram Writing on the whiteboard, NORC Bethesda office
How people use prescription medicine determinesif it is a source of the healing or a source of abuse

Center for Excellence in Survey Research

​Communication and technological advances have many and diverse implications for research design.  Budget concerns also impact the design of studies and the method of sampling and estimation employed in various studies.  In the evolving landscape of social science research, NORC continues to offer its clients outstanding staff and innovative methods in statistical and survey research.  The Center for Excellence in Survey Research (CESR) assists NORC in remaining a leader in methodological innovations in survey research.

CESR helps identify and share best practices—both internally and externally—across the continuum of research design and implementation at NORC. To accomplish its mission, the Center conducts timely, state-of-the-art statistical and methodological research on sample and survey design and estimation methods, as well as the analysis of data from surveys and information collection activities. CESR encourages internal innovation and best-practices through an annual, internal grant competition. External clients benefit from CESR’s team members’ expertise across a range of topics by working directly with CESR or through a multidisciplinary collaboration with NORC’s research departments.

The staff of CESR is comprised of NORC Senior Fellows; each one demonstrates outstanding skills and expertise in their field.  CESR Senior Fellows blend significant experience in subject matter areas, such as crime, child care, and income statistics, with research background  in many areas of statistical and survey research methods, such as sample design, estimation, imputation, and microdata disclosure-avoidance methods.

Areas of Expertise

  • Education
  • Child Care
  • Crime Statistics

Major Capabilities 

  • Statistics and Sampling
    • Sample Design
    • Weight Development
    • Variance Estimation
    • Nonresponse Bias Analysis
    • Nonresponse Adjustment Methods
    • Imputation Procedures
    • Statistical Data Analysis
    • Statistical Software Packages
    • Estimation, including small area estimation
    • Methods Research
  • Study Design and Survey Methodology
  • Dissemination and Knowledge Management
    • Disclosure Analysis

Representative Projects

2012 NORC Presidential Election Study. The 2012 NORC Presidential Election Study was conducted in the weeks prior to the Presidential election to measure public opinion about important issues the country faces – economic recovery, health care costs, and extreme partisanship. More

Privacy-Protected Method for Collecting Data on Immigration Status Through In-Person Surveys. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and led by Fritz J. Scheuren, this project studies and tests a method—developed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2006—that asks sensitive questions about immigration status  and  protects respondent anonymity, reduces question threat,  provides direct estimates of the foreign–born in all legal immigration statuses, and indirect estimates of undocumented residents. More

Statistical Efforts in Support of the Office of Historical Trust Accounting.

NORC played a major role in the settlement of the Cobell lawsuit that alleged mismanagement of Individual Indian Money trust accounts and now provides statistical expertise to the Office of Historical Trust Accounting as they examine Tribal Trust accounts. More

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Kirk M. Wolter

Senior Staff

Kirk M. Wolter

Kirk M. Wolter
Chief Statistician and Executive Vice President of Statistics and Methodology

A. Rupa Datta

A. Rupa Datta
Vice President and Senior Fellow

Colm O'Muircheartaeigh

Colm O'Muircheartaigh
Senior Fellow and Co-Principal Investigator

Fritz Scheuren

Fritz Scheuren
Senior Fellow and Vice President