See the calendar on the right for the full schedule.

Monday, December 19, 2005

More Data: Political Socialization!

CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, has just released a number of data sets that are relatively unique relative to our standard ANES, PEW, and GSS data that we normally use for secondary analysis in political communication and public opinion. If you're interested in youth, this is something you should check out.

The data are available at:


Roper Center Data

The School of Communication has recently teamed up with various other departments on campus to purchase access to the Roper Center's public opinion data archive (iPoll). This is a rich source of data and will be very useful to COPS members. The username and password can be obtained from Robb Hagen or Joe Szymczak.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

AEJMC 2006 Call for Papers

The call for papers for the 2006 AEJMC conference in San Francisco has just been announced. The deadline is April 1st. For details, click here.

Several divisions offer conference recognition and cash awards for outstanding student papers. Communication Theory and Methodology awards $50 to the first author of any student paper that is accepted, and the prize for the CTM Chaffee-McLeod student paper competition is $250. Other divisions with student awards include Mass Communication and Society ($100 for first prize, $75 for second, theses and dissertations not eligible), Communication Technology (free conference registration), Law ($200), Newspaper ($200), and others.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Choosing an advisor

The faculty in the COPS group have fielded many questions recently about choosing an advisor. The following online documents can supplement those discussions:

Article #1
Article #2
Article #3

Going to MAPOR

For more photos of our trip, click here

Monday, November 21, 2005

OSU grad behind the scenes for Bush's visit to Korea

You probably didn't see his face on any of the news reports of President Bush's recent trip to Korea, but recent OSU grad Dave Smith (MA, June 2005) was the leader of the team that coordinated the press arrangements for the presidential visit. This included preparing for and working with more than 200 international journalists who were on hand. There were 175 reporters traveling with the president. Dave himself spent time with Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, as well as David Green of NPR, John Roberts of CBS and Kelly O'Donnel of NBC.

Dave, who was a captain in the Air Force during his time at OSU, is now Major Dave Smith. He completed his thesis in June and left the following week for his current assignment as Chief of Public Affairs for the 51st Fighter Wing/7th Air Force. He's now stationed at Osan Air Base about 50 miles from the North Korean border. The title of his thesis is, "The 'casualties hypothesis:' The influence of news media coverage of U.S. military deaths on public support for military operations."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On the recent Ohio election

Once again the quality and honesty of Ohio’s elections are the stuff of national commentary. Here’s a recent sampling.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Balancing Theory and Methods with Reality?

Alan Wolfe contributes a provocative review essay in the Nov. 4 Chronicle of Higher Education (online subscription or available via Lexis Nexis).

Wolfe details the revolt in political science from scholars who view the major journals as increasingly irrelevant to understanding politics, and instead dominated by mathematically based scholarship that through hypothesis testing and model building tries to fit reality and events into a single over-arching explanatory concept. What is lost is the role of contingency, complexity and context in human affairs, and the ability to say things about contemporary society. Worth reading with many parallels to trends in communication research and other disciplines.

On the role of journalists in the CIA leak case

An insightful article about the practices of the press and federal officials appears in this week's New Yorker by Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia. You can read it online at

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Significant changes ahead for NES

NSF awards $7.6 million for a more multi-faceted, broadly collaborative, and interdisciplinary American National Election Studies

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $7.6 million to fund the American National Election Studies (ANES) to study the causes of voter participation and candidate choice in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
This award represents a dramatic increase in NSF's funding for the project, more than doubling the financial support it received during 2002-2005.

The substantial increase in funding for the project is the result of two years of advisory workshops held by NSF to evaluate the study's scientific value and innovative directions for its future. "This award allows us to conduct the project in much bigger and better ways than has ever been possible," said Arthur Lupia, one of two principal investigators of the project. "NSF's ringing endorsement of the project is a wonderful recognition of 50 years of important scholarship by hundreds of social scientists studying elections and will equip them superbly to continue this important work," said Jon Krosnick, also a principal investigator.

The centerpiece of the 2005-2009 study will be state-of-the-art hour-long interviews with thousands of Americans face-to-face in their homes both before and again after the November, 2008, election. The questionnaires will ask hundreds of questions of respondents, measuring their opinions on a wide array of political issues, their assessments of the health of the nation, their hopes for government action in the future, their perceptions of the candidates and their platforms, their behavioral participation in the campaign and in politics more generally, and much more. Many of these questions have been asked identically every two years since the 1950s, allowing scholars to track changes in the American electorate over time.

In addition, a nationally representative sample of American adults will be recruited during 2007 and will answer questions once a month for 21 consecutive months, continuing well after the presidential inauguration in 2009. This will allow researchers to study which citizens change their candidate preferences when and why during the primaries and general election campaigns and how citizens react to the election outcome after the nation's new leader begins to govern.

A third component of the new project will be collaboration with another long-term national survey project, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, run by the Ohio State University's Center for Human Resource Research. As a result, questions measuring political opinions and behavior will be asked of a representative sample of thousands of young adults every two years, illuminating patterns of long-term change of individuals across elections.

The November, 2008, pre-election and post-election face-to-face interviews will employ innovative new measurement techniques for the first time in the ANES, such as using laptop computers to display questions and answer choices confidentially to respondents and allowing them to answer secretly. In addition, for the first time, the computers will show respondents election-related photographs and videos to enhance measurement of what voters learn during the campaign.

The computers will also measure the speed with which respondents make judgments, using the latest techniques from social and cognitive psychology. This will entail the use of measurement tools that have been used extensively in laboratories around the world but have rarely been administered in surveys of representative national samples of adults.

Response speed measurement is one way to elucidate automatic processes that occur unconsciously in the brain and guide political thinking and action. "By combining self-reports that measure opinions and measurements of response speed, we can better understand the impact of sensitive attitudes, including prejudice and stereotyping." explained Lupia.

2006 will mark a substantial expansion of the number of academic disciplines that will influence and be served by the ANES. The Board of Overseers will double in size to include 20 world-renowned professors from political science, psychology, sociology, economics, and communication.

During the coming years, substantial efforts will be mounted to encourage scholars from all of these disciplines and others as well to submit proposals about how the study should be designed and what questions should be asked of the survey respondents.

The ANES has conducted gold-standard national surveys every two years since then to equip scholars around the world to study American voting behavior and election outcomes. Thousands of books, journal articles, book chapters, and conference presentations have been based upon ANES data during the last five decades. It was created by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research (ISR) in 1952 and is now administered jointly by ISR and Stanford University's Institute for Research in the Social Sciences.

* * * * *

Related Links:
ANES Homepage:
Krosnick Homepage:
Lupia Homepage:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

$$$Money, Money, Money for Research$$$

If you are a graduate student looking for money to fund a research project, a good place to look might be the National Association of Broadcaster's Research Grants. For more information, click here:
You will have to find a way to make your political communication or public opinion project relevant to the goals of the NAB, but for many project ideas that shouldn't be a problem.

So much for media agenda-setting?

If you think agenda-setting works as its chief academic proponents say it does and media do set a kind of social or political agenda by focusing on some issues and not others, then consider this from last night's Daily Show [October 31, 2005].

Bob Corddry: [Discussing the apparent sudden loss of interest in the Scooter Libby indictment due to Bush’s nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, Sam Alito, on Oct. 31, 2005.] There’s been a change of topic.

Jon Stewart: But don’t the media have some power over what the story is?

Bob Corddry: No, Jon. No. We have no ability to decide what’s important. Look, I’m a reporter. I’d love to stay with the Libby case. We’re talking about corruption in the vice president’s office. Huge story! But something new happened. If the Alito nomination weren’t more important, it wouldn’t have happened more recently. Its newness trumps the less recent-tude of the … of the .. thing with Liddy.

Jon Stewart: Libby. Libby. G. Gordon Liddy. Liddy was the Watergate burglar.

Bob Corddry: Right. Right. Watergate? Is that where the guy broke in on the dinosaur, old man? Get with it Jon! We thrive on news! That’s how reporters work.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Review of McCombs' on Agenda-Setting, Entman on Framing

Two relatively recent books by prominent names in political communication attempt to consolidate theory around core ideas in our field: agenda-setting and framing. These are two books definitely worth owning as new and prospective scholars in political communication, and the Entman book at least is likely to be a seminal work in its influence, if it hasn't achieved that status already.

Two reviews published this year in Mass Communication & Society deal with these books, and are worth reading, especially the Pan review.

Also, I should mention that some students have found useful Katherine Kramer Walsh's book on political discussion, and a review by Gamson can be found in the latest issue of Public Opinion Quarterly.

Setting the Agenda: The News Media and Public Opinion (Paperback)
by Maxwell McCombs

Projections of Power : Framing News, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion) (Paperback)
by Robert M. Entman

Reviews in:

Volume: 8, Number: 4 2005

Volume: 8, Number: 2 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Survey Research

This is a 23-hour program created in 2000 to provide any OSU student enrolled in any graduate program an opportunity to earn a credential in the field of survey research. Upon completing the GIS the graduate school will attach a note on your official transcript indicating that you have completed the program and you will receive an official certificate from the program. There are 13 participating departments across five colleges and I hope to recruit a couple more in the coming year.

The program consists only three required courses: Survey Sampling, Questionnaire Construction, and a Practicum. There are also two electives that you can choose from a wide variety of courses across the university. One list deals with methodological courses dealing with some aspect of survey research. The other contains courses that use the results of survey research in substantial ways. As prerequisites you are expected to have completed a statistics sequence that includes multiple regression.

Two of the three required courses will be offered in Winter Quarter 2006: Survey Sampling [Stan Lemeshow, Public Health and Statistics] and Questionnaire Construction [Tom Nelson, Political Science]. Professor Herb Weisberg will once again teach the Practicum in Spring 2006. As many of you know, Professor Weisberg has just published a new book that he developed as the curriculum for his class:

Weisberg, H.F. (2005). The Total Survey Error Approach: A Guide to the New Science of Survey Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

An application for the GIS can be found online at

The list of electives will be updated soon. Note that Public Opinion [Comm 813] offered in Winter Quarter will be an allowable elective.

Dean Paul Beck has recently asked me to be the coordinator of this program. If you have questions or need additional information, please let me know.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

political theory colloquium

Political Science sponsors a colloquium devoted to political theory that might be of interest to some COPS members (topics include social theory, justice, responsibility and other philosophical/theoretical issues). They also invite talks from other depts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What's your factor?

Interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about the use and abuse of impact factors in academic journals:

Friday, October 07, 2005

Weekend Web Browsing

Here's another site for you to waste time on -- if you're interested in knowing things like who the public wants, Rudy or Hillary, for president in 2008...

Monday, October 03, 2005

OSU Powerpoint Template for Presentations

The university has some Powerpoint templates that you might consider using to brand and jazz up your presentations at professional conferences. The link is

Thursday, September 29, 2005


The American Association for Public Opinion Research will have its annual conference May 18-21, 2006 in Montreal. AAPOR is a little different from most of our Communication conferences in that it accepts paper, poster and panel proposals on its web site with a deadline of Dec. 1, 2005. AAPOR attracts a unique group of individuals who represent academe, government statistical agencies, commercial polling firms, and media polling firms.

Interesting Site

If you're a snoop, you should check out It allows you to type in an address and identify political contributions recorded by the Federal Election Commission by distance from that address.

I've recently asked Jess Flanders to use this site to help me identify very local climates of opinion. I did a survey of Ohio right after the 2004 election and obtained something close to an address for each respondent. I'm now trying to identify the climate of opinion surrounding that person, with the assumption that those who donate to candidates or parties are likely to publicly express their opinions in the form of bumper stickers, yard signs, buttons, etc., and that this will help to generate perceptions of a local climate of opinion of one's neighbors. And, once these data are combined with the survey data, we can see if this influences the participation of those whose views are in the minority relative to their local opinion climate.

Anyhow, just thought this might be a "real" first post to our blog. Feel free to share your comments or suggestions in the comments section of this post.