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Survey Lab

wall in bookstores with several books on the topic of survey research

By User:Jtneill (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What is Survey Lab?

The Laboratory for the Study of American Values supports graduate students who are writing dissertations about American public opinion by helping them conduct original surveys of nationally representative samples of adults. The lab’s goal is to enhance the research productivity and career success of graduate students and yield rich new insights about American values.


The lab is directed by Paul Sniderman and Mike Tomz.

Lab Components

The lab involves the following two components:

  1. Public Opinion Polls: Students can include questions and experiments in a series of omnibus surveys the lab runs, and they will receive the data at no cost. In a typical year, the lab will run four surveys with nationally representative samples, and one survey that focuses on minorities such as African Americans or Latinos. Each survey will have 1,000 respondents and last about 20 minutes.

  2. Laboratory-Style Seminar: Professors Paul Sniderman and Mike Tomz will teach a class, “Laboratory for the Study of American Values,” which will meet over multiple quarters. Students who want to include questions on the lab surveys must enroll in both Polisci 423A and 423B. The classes will provide training on all stages in the survey research process.

Who is Eligible?

We invite applications from Ph.D. students from the:

  • communication department
  • psychology department
  • sociology department
  • political science department
  • Graduate School of Business
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Law School

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 include on omnibus surveys

Applicants should email their proposals to Professors Sniderman ( and Tomz (, and include “Proposal: Laboratory for the Study of American Values” in the subject line.


Proposals are due in early September. Students who are selected to participate will be notified before the start of classes.