Norman Bradburn is a Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago. He also serves as the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the faculties of the University of Chicago's Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, Department of Psychology, Booth School of Business and the College. He is a former provost of the University (1984-1989), chairman of the Department of Behavioral Sciences (1973-1979), and associate dean of the Division of the Social Sciences (1971-1973). From 2000-2004 he was the assistant director for social, behavioral, and economic sciences at the National Science Foundation. Associated with NORC since 1961, he has been its Director and President of its Board of Trustees.
Bradburn has been at the forefront in developing theory and practice in the field of sample survey research in the cultural sector. He co-directs the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Humanities Indicators project and was Principal Investigator of the Cultural Infrastructure in the United States project. For the Humanities Indicators project he oversees the collation and analysis of data, the creation of reliable benchmarks to guide future analysis of the humanities, and the development of a consistent and sustainable means of updating the data. For the Cultural Infrastructure project he oversaw the systematic measurement of recent building projects and their consequences, modeled levels of creativity and sustainability of individual arts organizations before and after building projects, and the overall cultural vibrancy and vitality of their cities or regions as a result.
Bradburn is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member of the International Institute of Statistics. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994. In 1996 he was named the first Wildenmann Guest Professor at the Zentrum for Umfragen, Methoden und Analyse in Mannheim, Germany. In 2004 he was given the Statistics Canada/American Statistical Association Waksberg Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of survey methodology.