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Survey Lab


Founded in 2012, the Laboratory for the Study of American Values (the Survey Lab) supports graduate students who are writing dissertations about American public opinion. The Lab seeks to enhance the research productivity and career success of graduate students, by giving them opportunities to conduct original surveys of nationally representative samples of adults. The lab also aims to yield rich new insights about American values by running studies that draw upon the interdisciplinary excellence of the social sciences at Stanford. The program's founding directors are Paul Sniderman and Michael Tomz. For descriptions of previous years' projects, see the list of Past Survey Lab students; you can also scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of dissertations and publications that incorporated results from Survey Lab projects.

The lab is comprised of the following two components:

  1. Public opinion polls: SCAD provides students with funds to run online survey experiments for specific audiences, such as Americans of voting age or certain ethnic or racial groups. These survey results provide students with invaluable data tailored specifically for their dissertations.

  2. Laboratory-style seminar: In 2023 the Lab seminar will be co-taught by Professors Paul Sniderman, Mike Tomz, and Lauren Davenport. The seminar will meet over two quarters and provide training on all stages in the experimental survey research process from survey design, implementation, and analysis of the results.


We invite applications from doctoral students in the:

  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Communication 
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Political Science 
  • Department of Psychology 
  • Department of Sociology
  • Graduate School of Business
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Law School (JSD Program)

Students who participated in a previous year may apply to participate again.

Applying to participate 

Students must submit a proposal (maximum 4 pages) that:

  • describes their research questions
  • states their hypotheses
  • outlines the questions and/or experiments they would like to run

2022–2023 Application deadline

Applications for the 2022–23 Survey Lab, scheduled for the upcoming Winter and Spring Quarters, are now closed. Students who are selected to participate will be notified before the start of classes.

The next call for proposals will be circulated to students in eligible programs in September 2024.

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