AmeriSpeak is NORC at the University of Chicago’s Panel-Based Research Platform

Panel Design

How AmeriSpeak Households Are Sampled

AmeriSpeak is a probability-based panel (in contrast to a non-probability panel) since panel households are selected with a known probability of selection from a documented sample list (technically called a “sample frame”).  Randomly selected households are sampled with a known, non-zero probability of selection from the NORC National Frame, and then contacted by U.S. mail and by NORC telephone and field interviewers (face-to-face recruitment).

NORC’s National Frame is designed to provide at least 97 percent sample coverage of the U.S. population by supplementing the U.S. Postal Service Delivery Sequence File. To do this, NORC field staff surveyed select geographic areas and created a supplemental list of addresses for the National Frame.  This in-person listing of households improves sample coverage from 92 percent (based on address-based sampling) to 97 percent (using the NORC National Frame).   In the process, the AmeriSpeak Panel surveys are better able to be representative of the U.S. population by providing enhanced sample representation of hard-to-reach rural households.

How Households Are Recruited

During the AmeriSpeak recruitment process, NORC contacts sampled households in English and Spanish by U.S. mail, telephone, and through field interviewers conducting in-person recruitment. Selected households can join the panel by visiting the AmeriSpeak Panel member website or by calling the AmeriSpeak toll-free telephone number. NORC obtains informed consent from study participants during the registration process.

After providing informed consent, AmeriSpeak Panel members first complete an introduction survey asking questions about the person’s background, household composition and characteristics, and interests. Afterwards, the AmeriSpeak panelist may be invited to participate in surveys and other kinds of research regarding a wide variety of topics. AmeriSpeak Panel members typically participate in AmeriSpeak web-based or phone-based studies two to three times a month.

AmeriSpeak Panel Recruitment: Improving Data Quality

As a result of AmeriSpeak Panel sampling and recruitment processes, data quality is improved in the following and other ways:

  • Use of the NORC National Frame increases sample representativeness by enhancing sample coverage for rural and in particular low-income households
  • Use of NORC’s field staff for in-person recruitment enhances sample representativeness for young adults, lower socio-economic households, non-internet, and other households that are typically hard-to-reach for statistical surveys of the population
  • The sampling and recruitment process resulted in an industry-leading panel recruitment response rate (30% AAPOR RR3 for 2014-2017)

Learn more

Read the AmeriSpeak Panel Technical Overview