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UCR Launches Survey Research Center

UC Riverside Launches Survey Research Center

Regional policymakers and UCR researchers will benefit from center's polling capacity and faculty analysis.

(April 11, 2007)

RIVERSIDE ( - Regional policymakers and UC Riverside researchers who need polling data to complete their studies have a new resource: The UCR Survey Research Center.

The center, which opened in January, is an interdisciplinary project that provides researchers on- and off-campus with the ability to poll by telephone, Internet or mail, said Martin Johnson, director of the center and an assistant professor of political science.

“We’ve lacked that survey capability at UCR,” said Scott Coltrane, associate dean for the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS). “Most research universities have one of these centers to do random sample surveys and focus groups.”

Having the ability for faculty to analyze local and national issues will place UCR among the nation’s top research universities in the social sciences, Coltrane and Johnson said. It will be easier to recruit faculty as well, Coltrane said.

“People whose work depends on public opinion surveys and polling have not necessarily been drawn to UCR,” he said, in part because the university lacked the ability to generate original data.

The Survey Research Center is the third project launched in the last four years that will benefit researchers and regional policymakers. “Policy Matters” is a quarterly publication started in 2006 that provides research and guidance on various issues. The Statistical Consulting Collaboratory is a fee-based consulting service that began in 2004.

CHASS Dean Stephen Cullenberg provided most of the seed money for the center, which features 16 telephone stations and a pool of 40 undergraduate students who have been trained to conduct survey interviews.

UCR could develop a niche for surveying underrepresented groups because the campus is linguistically diverse, Johnson said.

“We have capacity to survey in Spanish,” he said. “Not a lot of surveys are done on Vietnamese speakers or Chinese speakers.” Johnson said he looks forward to developing the capacity to conduct surveys in multiple languages.

The center’s first client was UCR’s Edward J. Blakely Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, which needed to survey residents in four counties and the Sacramento area about regional transportation planning issues for a Caltrans contract.

Johnson said he hopes the center will work on projects of the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, the State of California, and local government and school districts. It will not contract with partisan political groups.

“We will do what’s appropriate for universities,” Johnson said. “You want to be promoting the intellectual life of the university and the research capacity of the university.”

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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