World Association for Public Opinion Research
|Tom W. Smith|
The World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) is an international professional association of researchers in the fields of communication and survey research. It is a member organization of the International Social Science Council.
Established in 1947 at the Second International Conference on Public Opinion Research held in Williamstown, Massachusetts as the World Congress on Public Opinion Research, the association acquired its current name in 1948, at the Third International Conference on Public Opinion Research. In 1953, it became the sole nongovernment consultant organization to UNESCO in the field of polling.
Its current president is Tom W. Smith (NORC) and the vice president is Alejandro Moreno (Reforma, in Mexico). Among the former presidents of WAPOR are Juan Linz, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, Robert Worcester and Seymour Martin Lipset.
Over time, WAPOR's membership has grown and become more international. In 1956, roughly a decade after its founding, the association had 158 members from about 20 countries; by 1962, these figures had risen to approximately 200 and more than 30, respectively. In 1970, WAPOR had more than 300 members from 41 countries.
As of 2012, the association has over 600 members from research institutes and universities in over 60 countries on six continents.
The association also holds an annual conference in North America in even-numbered years, in cooperation with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), and in Europe in odd-numbered years, in cooperation with the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR). AAPOR and ESOMAR are considered "allied associations."
Since 1981, WAPOR offers the Helen Dinerman Award – created to honour sociologist Helen Dinerman – to individuals who have made "significant contributions to survey research methodology". Prior recipients include social scientists Philip Converse, Louis Guttman, Roger Jowell, Elihu Katz, Juan Linz, Seymour Martin Lipset, Robert K. Merton, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, Sidney Verba, Robert Worcester, and Daniel Yankelovich.
Richard Morin, former polling director of The Washington Post, described WAPOR as "the leading professional association of pollsters working outside the United States". Herbert Weisberg, a political scientist at The Ohio State University and former president of the Midwest Political Science Association, further credited WAPOR with contributing to the internationalization, and thereby the professionalization, of the field of survey research.
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