Jennifer Dykema

Credentials: Ph.D.

Position title: Faculty Director, Associate Professor of Sociology


Phone: (608) 262-8385

Curriculum Vitae

Jennifer Dykema is the Faculty Director of the University of Wisconsin Survey Center (UWSC) and an Associate Professor of Sociology. Her research focuses on survey research methodology, identifying sources of errors produced in the process of gathering standardized measurements and developing and implementing methods to reduce those errors. This work examines three main areas of inquiry: interviewer-respondent interaction, questionnaire design, and methods to increase response rates. In her role as Faculty Director, she oversees a program of methodological research that incorporates experiments and evaluations in ongoing projects to address critical issues such as response rates and nonresponse bias, the influence of field procedures on costs, and the consequences of various design and implementation decisions on data quality. Examples of recent projects include: what incentive combinations improve survey response; does straightlining behavior vary by mode in mail-web mixed mode studies; how should sample members be addressed in postal surveys; and how does data quality vary for agree-disagree versus construct-specific questions. Jen’s research has appeared in Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Official Statistics, Social Science Research, Sociological Methodology, American Sociological Review, and edited volumes such as the Handbook of Survey Research. She currently teaches research methods at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and she taught at the Summer Institute at the University of Michigan. She earned her B.A. in psychology and sociology from the University of Michigan, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before coming to Wisconsin, she worked at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center.

Jen has extensive experience and expertise in the field of survey research methodology including: wording questions and designing survey instruments across all modes of administration; developing and implementing systems to code interviewer-respondent interaction; designing and implementing experiments to improve survey items and increase response rates; conducting statistical analyses of response errors using multiple data sets; and developing protocols for, conducting, and analyzing the data from cognitive and other qualitative interviews. She has worked directly on developing or providing expert evaluation of several national and state-based surveys including the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), the Youth Behavior Survey (YBS), the Schools and Staffing Survey, and the Voices Heard Medical Research Survey.

Jen is also very active in the broader survey and public opinion research community. A member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) since 1992, she served as the 2017 Annual Conference Chair and a member of AAPOR’s Executive Council (2015-2017). Prior to that, she served the organization as Chair of the Membership and Chapter Relations Committee (2012-2014) helping to expand the benefits and services offered to student, non-student, and chapter members, and coordinate efforts to build the infrastructure for regular surveys of AAPOR members. In 2005 she was co-winner of the Student Paper Award. From 1995-1998, she served as the Special Events/Social Activities Coordinator, organizing the Fun Run/Walk, T-Shirt Slogan Contest, and other events. Throughout the years, she has served on numerous AAPOR committees including the Conference Committee, Student Paper Award Committee, Book Award Committee, and Innovators Award Committee. She is also active in her local chapter, the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR) where she served as Member-At-Large on the Executive Council (2011-2014) and chaired the committee that successfully launched MAPOR’s “Methods and Substance” webinar series.

Selected Publications by Jennifer Dykema


Other Writing in Progress

Jennifer Dykema, Dana Garbarski, Nora Cate Schaeffer, Isabel Anadon, and Dorothy Farrar-Edwards. “Do interviewer and respondent behaviors predict measurement equivalence: Comparing measurement of trust across racial/ethnic groups.”

Dana Garbarski, Jennifer Dykema, and Nora Cate Schaeffer. “Characteristics of interviewers, respondents, and questions: Associations with data quality and interviewers’ observations in a health survey of diverse respondents.”

Jennifer Dykema, John Stevenson, Chad Kniss, Penny Black, and D. Paul Moberg. “Effects of Mode and Incentives on Response Rates, Costs, and Response Quality in a Survey of Alcohol Use among Young Adults.”

Jennifer Dykema, Kerryann DiLoreto, Jessica Price, and Nora Cate Schaeffer. “Designing Questions to Measure Sensitive Behaviors among Disadvantaged Youths in ACASI.”

Jennifer Dykema, Nadia Assad, Ian Wall, Kenneth D. Croes, and Dorothy Farrar Edwards. “Exploring the Relationship between Participants’ Understanding of the Phrase ‘Medical Research Study’ and Their Expressed Likelihood to Participate in Medical Studies.”

Jennifer Dykema, Nora Cate Schaeffer, and Dana Garbarski. “Effects of Agree/Disagree Versus Construct-Specific Items on Reliability, Validity, and Interviewer-Respondent Interaction.”

Jennifer Dykema, Kerryann DiLoreto, Karen Jaques, and Nadia Assad. “Effects of ACASI Voice Choice and Voice Persona on Reports to Questions about Sensitive Behaviors among Young Adults.”

Jennifer Dykema, Nora Cate Schaeffer, Jeremy Beach, Vicki Lein, and Brendan Day. “Designing Questions for Web Surveys: Effects of Check List, Check All, and Stand Alone Response Formats on Survey Reports and Data Quality.”

Jennifer Dykema, John Stevenson, Lisa Klein, Kristen Cyffka, and Sara Goldrick-Rab. “What are the Odds? Lotteries versus Cash Incentives. Response Rates, Cost and Data Quality for a Web Survey of Low-Income Former and Current College Students.”

Jennifer Dykema, John Stevenson, Jeremy Beach, Kelly Elver, and Kristen Cyffka. “Personalization in Mail Surveys Using Address-Based Sampling: Implications for Participation and Sample Representativeness.”