Mike Binder and Andrew Hopkins gave a presentation on the Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL), a full-service survey research center at the University of North Florida under the College of Arts and Sciences.
Aside from Binder and Hopkins, other PORL staff members include multiple undergraduate students and one graduate student. There is an additional labor force of 60-80 students on campus to code, input data, etc. PORL has a 27-station call center, and is strictly hand-dial instead of auto-dial (allowing them to better reach cell phone users). Phone numbers are purchased from outside agencies.
PORL has collaborated on projects with numerous off-campus entities such as the Florida Times-Union, News4Jax, FDot, and more. Most of what they do is survey based such as randomized telephone surveys, including state surveys, regional surveys, surveys for specific geographic regions, etc.
The Research Lab has to go thru the university’s IRB process, which takes time but hasn't hindered their project progress. The PORL website has press releases and information about individual projects. What separates PORL from public consulting firms is the UNF name brand. Clients want weight added behind their data, and therefore would rather reach out to Binder and his team.
PORL often works with UNF faculty on questionnaire design, so they can use survey results and data in their research publications. The Research Lab has worked with faculty from BCH, COAS, and CCB to have faculty questions included in statewide or regional surveys. Students enrolled in those classes can then receive training on survey software, and can participate in the process by calling individuals. The dataset can then be integrated into the faculty member’s research and the class itself. This process gives students valuable insight into public opinion and research. This is a great opportunity for faculty to collect survey data without spending thousands of dollars, plus faculty can involve their students and use the data to teach.
How can faculty get involved and utilize PORL? When a new survey instrument is approved by IRB, a call goes out several months in advance for faculty involvement in Campus Update. Calls for participation are also listed on the PORL website (https://www.unf.edu/coas/porl). The Omnibus Survey is interdisciplinary and runs every semester. If faculty members are interested in data mining, they should email PORL directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.