Designing a survey that provides accurate and unbiased results—reliably, quickly and cost-effectively—has been one of the great challenges in academic study. Poor practices can produce too small a sample or too uniform a field of respondents. Either can doom a survey before a single question is asked. The solution: the Understanding America Study (UAS) at the University of Southern California (USC).

The UAS Panel The UAS is a panel of American households recruited for their demographic diversity. UAS respondents answer queries from researchers once to twice a month via a powerful, yet user-friendly online interface. It is quick to deliver results—each day’s data is immediately available to researchers. Currently, the panel encompasses adults nationwide aged 18 and over, randomly selected using postal codes. The majority of panel members have their own online access; others have been provided, by USC, a tablet and/or an Internet subscription.

Publicly Available UAS Data Data collected by studies using the UAS panel are made publically available for secondary data analysis or for linking to later survey results. Browse the available data sets in the UAS Data pages, then all you need to do is register to get started. For a detailed look at the demographics of the UAS panel, after registering, visit the My Household item pages to download the data.

The surveys—commissioned by USC clients, global universities and other government researchers—seek insights into decision making, social and economic policy and health. The UAS is an excellent tool for methodological experiments of different ways to present information, as well as for testing survey items or validating results. Re- searchers worldwide sketch out surveys, then the UAS team designs them and ensures their rigor through testing before sending them to panel respondents.

Conducting SurveysWhether you have an idea for a survey, a research question to solve, or a fully completed survey instrument ready to begin col- lecting data, the UAS team at CESR is available to assist in development, design, and ensuring rigor and reliability with thorough testing before data collection begins.

For more information about the UAS, its respondents, and its repository of available existing data sets is available on the UAS data pages.