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J. Michael Dennis

Pronouns: He/Him

Executive Director
Senior Vice President
Business Ventures & Innovation
Michael is a nationally recognized expert on survey research methods, with a focus on online surveys and household panels.

Michael is executive director of AmeriSpeak, NORC’s probability-panel owned and operated by NORC. He founded AmeriSpeak in 2015 and leads the AmeriSpeak department for NORC.

A nationally recognized expert in probability-based panels and survey research, he has directed hundreds of statistical studies using probability-based and non-probability panels, as well as using telephone and in-person modes of data collection. At NORC, Michael has directed studies sponsored by AARP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Facebook, NASA, National Science Foundation, and numerous universities and foundations, among others. Michael led the creation of NORC-owned product assets: AmeriSpeak, AmeriSpeak Omnibus, TrueNorth, and Foresight 50+. His areas of methodological interest are in mixed-mode data collections, measurement of non-response bias and panel conditioning, uses of administrative data for enhancing survey sampling and analysis, and passive measurement of digital behaviors. 

Prior to joining NORC, Michael held several executive positions over fourteen years at Knowledge Networks, which was acquired by GfK Custom Research in 2012. Dennis founded Knowledge Networks’ Government and Academic Research Unit and managed all of the company’s federal, academic, and foundation funded research for clients such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, University of Pennsylvania, the National Science Foundation, and Stanford University. 

In addition, Michael provided management and scientific oversight for KnowledgePanel®. Before joining Knowledge Networks, Michael directed telephone and field data collections for Abt Associates on federally funded surveys, including the National Immunization Survey. In addition to his work on publicly funded studies, Michael has designed and directed consumer market research studies regarding food products, smartphones, personal computing, and other products. He has authored more than 60 articles, conference and seminar papers, and book chapters and is a frequent speaker at annual meetings of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

Project Contributions

America in One Room

A “deliberative polling” experiment to bridge American partisanship


Stanford University

COVID-19 Longitudinal Survey

Tracking the economic, social, and behavioral impacts of the pandemic


University of Chicago Booth School of Management

Food Allergies TrueNorth Survey

Using innovative methods to track Americans’ food allergies


Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Southern California and Stanford University

Sesame Workshop’s Identity Matters Project

Helping Sesame Street increase children’s self-esteem and awareness of social identity


Sesame Workshop