Journal Spotlight: Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology

3.coverThe Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology is not brand new but it’s new enough to perhaps not be in everyone’s radar. Sponsored by the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the American Statistical Association (ASA), the quarterly began in 2013 (only two issues in the startup year). Its stated objective is “to publish cutting edge scholarly articles on statistical and methodological issues for sample surveys, censuses, administrative record systems, and other related data….to be the flagship journal for research on survey statistics and methodology” with topics of interest including “survey sample design, statistical inference, nonresponse, measurement error, the effects of modes of data collection, paradata and responsive survey design, combining data from multiple sources, record linkage, disclosure limitation, and other issues in survey statistics and methodology.”

Editors Joseph Sedransk and Roger Tourangeau point out “of course, there are already journals devoted mainly to survey topics, such as the Journal of Official Statistics and Survey Methodology. However, valuable as these journals are, both are sponsored by government agencies. We believed that the flagship journal for our discipline should have the backing of the largest, most prestigious professional organizations for survey researchers [AAPOR and ASA]  (from A Statement from the Editors).

What makes the journal  multidisciplinary is the broad topical areas of the surveys under the microscope, from business and economics to the environment and health sciences. Here is a sampling of articles from the JSSAM’s first two years:

Item Sum: A New Technique for Asking Quantitative Sensitive Questions
Representative Surveys in Insecure Environments: A Case Study of Mogadishu, Somalia
Bridging Psychometrics and Survey Methodology: Can Mixed Rasch Models Identify Socially Desirable Reporting Behavior?
Real-World Eye-Tracking in Face-to-Face and Web Modes
Comparison of Three Modes for a Crime Victimization Survey
Mobile Web Survey Design: Scrolling versus Paging, SMS versus E-mail Invitations
Distractions: The Incidence and Consequences of Interruptions for Survey Respondents
Language Ability and Motivation Among Foreigners in Survey Responding

Communication researchers interested in this journal probably also keep an eye on Communications Methods and Measures.  All things considered, JSSAM looks like a seriously good read for survey method geeks!


Collaborative Online Social Media Observatory (COSMOS)

In Big and broad social data and the sociological imagination: A collaborative response published in Big Data & Society, the new open access journal from Sage (July-December 2014 vol. 1 no. 2) authors Williambd&s Housley, Rob Proctor, Adam Edwards, Peter Burnap, Mathew Williams, Luke Sloan, Omer Rana, Jeffrey Morgan, Alex Voss and Anita Greenhill discuss the challenges of big data to sociologists. The “adoption of a new generation of distributed, digital technologies and the gathering momentum of the open data movement,” according to the authors, grounds the work of the Collaborative Online Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS) project.

What is the Collaborative Online Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS)? Based in the UK, it is made up of a team of collaborators from Cardiff, Warwick and St. Andrews Universities (by and large the above authors) whose aim is to bring together “social, computer, political, health, statistical and mathematical scientists to study the methodological, theoretical, empirical and technical dimensions of social media data in social and policy contexts.” COSMOS

These collaborators keep a watchful eye on ethical issues  related to the new methodological tools being developed to harvest and evaluate digital data.

Publications include the COSMOS Online Ethics Resource Guide which is brief but rounds up an up-to-date bibliography on internet research ethics, including the 2012 Recommendations report by The Association Of Internet Researchers (AOIR).

COSMOS is also an open source software platform developed by the Project to access and analyze social media and other forms of digital data. Use of this software–they claim it requires no programming ability–is free to academic or non-profit researchers.