Michael Stern

Michael J. Stern is a senior fellow for NORC at the University of Chicago's Center for Excellence in Survey Research.

Stern's work has largely centered on reducing measurement error through testing the effects of visual design on respondents’ answers in web and mail surveys. Over the past several years, he has been involved in the design and implementation of a large number of web, mail, and telephone surveys, which have included numerous experimental treatments. More recently, his work has questioned previous research conducted with homogeneous samples and the role that survey and item saliency has on responses. The results show that the visual design in web and mail surveys affects respondents in similar ways across demographic groups, albeit to varying degrees, and that saliency plays a significant role in the way respondents are affected by a question’s design/visual layout.  

Previous to joining NORC, Stern held academic appointments at the College of Charleston and Oklahoma State University. During his graduate training he worked as a research assistant in the Social and Economic Science Research Center at Washington State University.

In addition to this work, Stern has published widely and has significant interest in how different segments of society effectively use information and communication technologies and what this means to future of web and other technologically based surveys. Stern has published over two-dozen peer-reviewed pieces on web use, survey research methods, use of quantitative methods in the social sciences, and political/civic engagement. Stern has also edited two special issues dealing with methodological and social issues involved in understanding use of the internet. A sampling of these publications can be found at Google Scholar.

Recently, Stern has chaired the Communication & Information Technology Section of ASA's Best Paper Award committee and served on the Book Award Committee. He has been nominated for a Committee Position in the section.