Where the Census leaves off, the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) steps in to provides the comprehensive and state of the art social science information that is needed to gauge the pulse of American society. Founded in 1941 as a component of the University of Chicago, NORC has done historical and ground breaking opinion surveys, social research and analysis and market research for government, business and academia.
The earliest surveys were to collect information about the public and how it felt about entering into WWII. Ironically, the first survey was done shortly before Pearl Harbor. There was also pioneering work in finding out about racial attitudes and work absenteeism problems in factories, along with study on a host of social issues.
NORC was commissioned by the National Institutes of Mental health and other organizations to conduct the first comprehensive survey of national mental health issues, public conceptions of mental illness and of the mentally ill, themselves. This groundbreaking work led to a database that is still used for baselines by today’s researchers.
NORC has supported epidemiological studies, contributing methodological advancements as well as survey methods and database content.
From happiness to healthiness to wealthiness to opinion about many things to crime, NORC has been instrumental in the many aspects of surveying and databases. The NORC provides services that allow browsing of projects that range from “Women of Color In the Legal Profession” to factors that support designing educational models.
NORC provides support for survey, experiment, study and other public interest social research design in many disciplines. There is support in data collection, information technology and statistics and methodology, among other areas.
With its large national field staff, NORC provides data collection through various means. NORC has a high technology CATI call center, uses the latest technology, such as PDA’s, portable scanners, GPS devices and touch screens. There are case management systems, biological sampling and bio marker specialists and specialists in other areas, including longitudinal study components.
There are specialists in face to face interviews, focus groups, site visits, records analysis and review, observational approaches and any other area of data collection.
NORC does not stop at design and data collection. There are analysis programs that support the latest in economic analysis, performance measures and writing papers for peer review to name a few.
The backbone of social science large database and data collection industry is in information technology. NORC has pioneered assistance and development of information technology through information systems, technology services and technology programs.
Finally, social sciences data collection would not work on a large scale without statistical and methodological work. NORC has a wide range of methodological and statistical services and advancements to support a wide ranging clientele.
In summary, NORC has taken social science data collection, surveying, data management, the scientific approach and the service approach to great levels of advancement and support.
Careers at NORC span the range from professional and administrative to field surveying and research.
To find out even more about NORC at the University of Chicago, visit the website!