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Tom W. Smith

Tom W. Smith

2011 Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences

Tom W. Smith (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is the Senior Fellow and Director, National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, Center for the Study of Politics and Society. He is an internationally recognized expert in survey research specializing in the study of societal changes and survey methodology. Since 1980, Smith has served as Director of the General Social Survey (GSS), one of NORC’s most visible projects and one of the nation’s most heavily utilized datasets. This is the largest and longest-term project supported by the Sociology program of the National Science Foundation. The mission of the GSS is to monitor changes and consistencies in American society and to develop models to explain change (or stability). The National Science Foundation, in celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2010, identified 60 major contributions to science that have received NSF support. The GSS was included on that list.

He is also co-founder and has been the Secretary General (1977-2003) of the International Social Survey Program which is the largest cross-national collaboration in t he social sciences. Additionally, Smith has been principal investigator on the National Gun Policy Surveys, the National Tragedy Study, the International Mental Health Stigma Study, and the National Paid Sick Days Study.

He currently serves as president of the World Association for Public Opinion Research.

Smith is frequently consulted and quoted by the news media on such diverse topics as survey methodology, American sexual behavior, inter-group relations, confidence in institutions, happiness, religion, guns, U.S. spending priorities, and voter behavior. He is a prolific writer (over 450 scholarly papers), analyzing and publishing the results of his studies in peer reviewed journals and NORC-published reports aimed at students, scholars and policymakers. He serves as a referee for several peer reviewed journals, including Public Opinion Quarterly, Health Affairs, Demography, and Social Methodology, and he is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Public Opinion Research.

In addition to his extensive publication and public speaking record, Smith has been the recipient of the following awards: Demographic Diamond Designate, American Demographics; Eastern Sociological Society Award for Distinguished Contributions to Sociology; American Association for Public Opinion Research Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement; AAPOR Innovators Award; and Worcester Prize, International Journal of Public Opinion Research.

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