Behavioral Science, Psychology, Sensors and Sensor Networks, Social Sciences, Survey Research
Data Collection Design, Data Quality, Human-Computer Interaction, Natural Language Processing, Statistical Inference
Relevant Projects:

“New Approaches to Analyzing Social Media Content for Enhancing Census Bureau Data,” funded by Department of Commerce

Frederick George Conrad

Research Professor, Institute for Social Research; Professor, Psychology

Institute for Social Research; Survey Research Center


Department of Psychology

Fred Conrad’s research concerns the development of new methods and data sources for conducting social research. His work is largely focused on survey methodology, but he also explores the use of social media content as a complement to survey data and as a source of large-scale qualitative insights. His focus is on data quality and reducing measurement error. For example, live video interviews promote more thoughtful responses, e.g., less straightlining – the tendency to give the same answer to a battery of survey questions, but they also promote less candor when answering questions on sensitive topics. Measurement error in social media include misclassification in the automated interpretation of content using methods such as sentiment analysis and topic modeling, as well as selective self-presentation (only posting flattering content). Equally challenging is not knowing the extent to which users differ from the population to which one might wish to generalize results.