2018 Clogg Lecture with Robert M. Groves

Date 03/27/18 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Location 117 Osmond Lab

Sociology and Statistics Lecture 
Tuesday, March 27th at 4:00 PM
117 Osmond Lab

"One Way Forward for Official Statistics in the New Data World"

The foundation of most official statistics in the world is the statistical sampling of target populations and the application of pre-designed measurements on the samples. Falling response rates to those sample surveys have led to increasing costs of those efforts and to risks of nonresponse bias in the resulting statistics. 

At the same time, new digital resources are arising, stimulated by the Internet and ubiquitous management information systems. The amount of data on day-to-day economic and social transactions is larger now than ever before in human history.  However, the resources are, to a large extent, not owned by institutions that have missions to serve the common good informational needs of the society.

The issues for official statistics in this new data world are discussed, with a focus on the lacunae in measurement theories, the family of statistical models useful in this new world, and the institutional structures that need consideration.


Robert M. Groves is the Gerard J. Campbell, S.J. Professor in the Math and Statistics Department as well as the Sociology Department at Georgetown University where he has served as the Executive Vice President and Provost since 2012.

Groves is a Social Statistician, who studies the Impact of Social Cognitive and Behavioral Influences on the quality of Statistical Information. His research has focused on the impact of mode of data collection on responses in sample surveys, the social and political influences on survey participation, the use of adaptive research designs to improve the cost and error properties of statistics, and public concerns about privacy affecting attitudes toward statistical agencies. He has authored or co-authored seven books and scores of peer-reviewed articles. His 1989 book, Survey Errors and Survey Costs, was named one of the 50 most influential books in survey research by the American Association of Public Opinion Research. His book, Nonresponse in Household Interview Surveys, with Mick Couper, received the 2008 AAPOR Book Award. His co-authored book, Survey Nonresponse, received the 2011 AAPOR Book Award.

Groves served as the Director of the US Census Bureau between 2009-2012. He serves on several boards and advisory committees including the National Research Council Board of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Pew Research Center Board, the Population Reference Bureau, the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, and the Statistics Canada Advisory Committee. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences, of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academies, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the International Statistical Institute.

Download iCal