Robert M. Groves


The Institute for Policy Research
is pleased to present its

2011 IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture
“Government Statistics and Social Science Statistics:
What Is Quality?”

Robert Groves

In democracies, government statistics are key tools for an informed citizenry to evaluate its government. Yet how the government uses statistical information is typically broader than in the social sciences, meaning that different users might use the same information for different purposes. Taking the 2010 U.S. Census as a case study, Census Director Robert Groves will discuss how the evaluative quality frameworks common in the social sciences compare to those of government statistics. As a sociologist and expert on survey methodology and design, Dr. Groves has studied theory of survey participation, modes of data collection, and the impact of computer assistance on the quality of survey data.

Robert M. Groves

Director, U.S. Census Bureau, and
Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan (on leave)

Monday, May 2, 2011
4:00 - 5:15 p.m.

Harris 108
1881 Sheridan Road
Evanston Campus


Robert M. Groves was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009. As director, he oversees the decennial Census, mandated by the U.S. Constitution, and he led the effort for the nation’s 23rd Census in 2010. The Census Bureau began releasing the 2010 data in December, tallying more than 308 million Americans in all U.S. states and territories. Census data help to determine the reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and the allotment of certain public funds, among other uses. The Bureau is currently in the midst of releasing state-level demographic data so that states can begin the redistricting process, which will take effect for the 113th Congress in 2013.

Groves is on leave from the University of Michigan, where he was director of the Survey Research Center. He was the Census Bureau’s Associate Director for Statistical Design, Methodology, and Standards from 1990 to 1992.

Groves has authored or co-authored seven books and scores of scientific articles. His 1989 book, Survey Errors and Survey Costs, was named one of the 50 most influential books in survey research by the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). His book Nonresponse in Household Interview Surveys with Mick Couper received the 2008 AAPOR Book Award.

Groves is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Statistical Association. He is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and a national associate of the National Research Council at the National Academy of Sciences.

He is the recipient of the AAPOR’s distinguished achievement and innovator awards, the Helen Dinerman Award of the World Association for Public Opinion Research, and Julius Shiskin Memorial Award of the National Association of Business Economics and the American Statistical Association, in recognition of contributions in the development of economic statistics.


For more information about the lecture, please contact Ellen Dunleavy at 847-491-3395 or e-mail her at e-dunleavy@northwestern.edu.