The Laboratory for the Study of American Values


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 survey experiments of their own design. 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 a description of previous years' projects, visit the Lab website.

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: Professors Paul Sniderman and Mike Tomz teach the “Laboratory for the Study of American Values” seminar, which meets over two quarters and provides training on all stages in the experimental survey research process from survey design, implementation, and analysis of the results.


We invite applications from Ph.D. 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

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

Applicants should email their proposals to Professors Sniderman (paulms [at] (subject: Proposal%3A%20Laboratory%20for%20the%20Study%20of%20American%20Values) ) and Tomz (tomz [at], and include “Proposal: Laboratory for the Study of American Values” in the subject line.

2022-2023 Deadline

Information about enrolling in the upcoming Survey Lab will be posted soon.