Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who can be hired as a caller for SCSU Survey?

Current students, graduate and undergraduate, are hired as callers for our surveys. Each student must sign up for two or more training sessions when they are first hired as a caller. The training sessions give the background information about the survey and the necessary procedures that all callers must follow. After receiving training, callers may be hired repeatedly, depending on need and previous performance as a caller.

Who is chosen to be a student director for SCSU Survey?

Students who wish to be a student director should submit an application form to SCSU Survey. These forms are available at the Survey Lab, in SH 101. The application asks why you wish to be a survey director, and what qualifications and experiences you have that would be valuable in this position. Student directors must be available on Wednesday afternoons at 3:00 PM for the weekly meetings. Directors are expected to respond to the needs of the Survey, by submitting and critiquing potential survey questions, studying assigned survey literature, and be available through email correspondence to respond to issues of an immediate nature. Survey directors must be good communicators, be able to work with others, and conduct training sessions for new callers before surveys begin. The time commitment varies, but ranges from 2 or 3 hours per week, up to a maximum of 15 or 20 hours per week.

What faculty members work with SCSU Survey?

The faculty directors are:
Dr. Steve Frank, Chair of the Political Science Department and founder of SCSU Survey
Dr. Michelle Kukoleca Hammes, Political Science Department
Dr. David Robinson, Statistics and Computer Networking Department
Dr. Steven Wagner, Political Science Department
Dr. Sandrine Zerbib, Sociology and Anthropology Department

What kinds of surveys are conducted and when are they done?

Each year there are two primary surveys sponsored by St. Cloud State. The fall statewide survey occurs in late October or early November. This survey calls adults in Minnesota, via random digit dialing methodology. The questions generally focus on the direction of Minnesota and the country in general, along with questions of current interest related to politics and public policy. A second annual survey is the spring survey of SCSU students. A random sample of students is called for their opinions related to current issues that impact students. Other surveys are conducted each year on a contract basis, including an annual February survey for the Minnesota Lottery.

How are the samples chosen, to decide who is called and when?

The statewide survey of Minnesota adults uses a sample generated by random digit dialing. This process ensures that the phone numbers in the sample are representative of all Minnesota residential numbers. Recently this survey has begun including cell phones in the sample, to improve the coverage of Minnesota adults who have no landline phone. The schedule of calling is determined by the faculty and student survey directors. The phone numbers are presented to callers through the use of the survey software, WinCati. A similar process is used to sample Minnesota adults in the annual survey for the Minnesota Lottery. The annual spring student survey uses a random sample of SCSU students, generated from the university data base. Again, the WinCati software manages the distribution of phone numbers from the sample to the callers.

What software is used by SCSU Survey?

The WinCati software allows for the callers to be given a stream of phone numbers to call. At the conclusion of each call, the caller enters a disposition number, which is recorded in WinCati’s database. In the event that the call’s disposition is recorded as No Answer or Busy or otherwise indicating that no contact was made with the desired respondent, the disposition is used by WinCati to determine when the number should be called again. WinCati also stores all responses from completed surveys, and allows the transfer of these responses into statistical software such as SPSS, for further analysis.

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