About

About

The Survey Research Center (SRC), a center within the Institute for Social Research (ISR), is a multi‐ and inter‐disciplinary research organization devoted to the discovery of and insight into major issues within the social and behavioral sciences. SRC is an international leader in research involving the collection and analysis of sample surveys, administrative and other non-survey data.

Research

SRC faculty specialize in cutting-edge theory and research on key questions facing society including: aging, life course development, the role of education, fertility and families, retirement, health disparities, poverty, income and wealth, health measures and behaviors, substance abuse, development and evaluation of interventions, and the role of social networks and environment over the life course.

SRC conducts some of the most widely cited and influential studies in the world including Health and Retirement Study (HRS), Monitoring the Future, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, University of Michigan Survey of Consumer Attitudes, National Survey of Family Growth, and the Army Study To Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers.

SRC, through its Survey Research Operations, provides measurement facilities to Michigan faculty and a wide range of external clients, from federal agencies to individual university researchers to small, non-profit organizations.

SRC seeks to develop, strengthen, and diversify its research faculty and staff. Bringing together highly talented and motivated individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds will contribute fresh approaches to complex research problems and bring new expertise that will improve the scientific research in which we are all engaged.

International Partners and Educational Opportunities

SRC, through its international unit, partners with various countries to develop survey data collection and analysis infrastructure.

SRC also advances the scientific methods of social research through its educational program to supply the next generation of survey statisticians and methodologists. SRC houses an interdepartmental program in survey methodology offering Master’s and Doctoral degrees.

SRC, through its Summer Institute in survey research techniques, trains both national international students on cutting edge data collection and analysis methods.

History

The Survey Research Center (SRC) was established in August 1946 by the University Of Michigan Board of Regents. The original faculty founders of SRC believed that social behavior could be understood in terms of attitudes and motivational behaviors, and that links could be formed between an academic culture and the applied research of business and government. Research involving the collection and analysis of data from scientific sampling is at the core of this work. Given its unique origins, SRC was established by the University of Michigan with certain caveats: (1) the center would be funded from outside sources, (2) it would retain its indirect costs to support its administrative functions, and (3) it could appoint its research faculty without academic faculty tenure. Those provisions remain in effect today and are the cornerstones of the Center’s unique entrepreneurial culture within the University and among its peers nationwide.

Growth and Transformation

The Institute for Social Research (ISR) was founded in 1949 by combining the Survey Research Center (SRC) with the Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD). In the 1970s, the Political Behavior Program split off from SRC to become the Center for Political Studies (CPS). In the 1990s, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) split off from CPS to become a separate unit jointly overseen by ISR and a Board representing financially contributing member institutions from around the nation and the world. The Population Studies Center, originally formed as a unit of the Sociology Department, also joined ISR in the 1990s. ISR now comprises SRC, RCGD, CPS, PSC, and ICPSR.

The SRC structure is complementary and synergistic to the discipline‐ and college‐structure of the University. SRC research faculty are devoted to the invention of new measurements in the social sciences because they believe that breakthroughs often stem from improved observation of phenomena under scrutiny. Thus, the research faculty cluster around and use their common funds to support a large social science data collection unit, Survey Research Operations. The SRC research faculty have chosen to conduct their research in an academically‐based institute because they also value active engagement in educating the next generation of social scientists through department courses (e.g., sociology, psychology, economics), the SRC based interdepartmental program in survey methodology, the SRC summer institute, and the mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.