cApStAn LQC team attends 78th AAPOR conference in Philadelphia

cApStAn team members Grace DeLee and Musab Hayatli joined survey and public opinion researchers in attending the 78th conference of AAPOR, the leading association of public opinion and survey research professionals, which took place in Philadelphia, from May 10th to May 12th. The conference provided a unique opportunity for Grace and Musab to exchange ideas around the cultural and linguistic aspects of surveys, and learn from colleagues and partners about their experiences, needs, and research in international and local surveys.

On Day 1 Grace and Musab participated in a session focusing on the potential of applying Natural Language Processing (NLP) to handle a significant issue in open-ended surveys, namely, making sense of responses to open-ended questions. These form a challenge due to the difficulty of analysing and encoding them. cApStAn LQC has a first-hand experience in non-English Responses, where we helped many clients develop and implement solutions, albeit low-technology ones, using linguistic expertise. We understand the challenges, and seeing such an approach being examined for English was interesting.

Grace and Musab also attended a session that included a talk by Neil Ruiz, Head of New Research Initiatives at Pew Research Center, where he presented the results of their Asian American Survey, a survey for which cApStAn LQC helped with the language and cultural. One interesting finding of this survey is that among Asian American immigrants, 54% of those who came to the U.S. in the past 10 years say they most often use only their ethnicity to describe themselves, compared with just 21% of those who arrived more than two decades ago, revealing an increased sense of connection to other Asians in the U.S.

cApStAn is also an active member of the Cross-cultural & Multilingual Research Affinity Group in AAPOR. Managing Quality through Collaboration on Cross-Cultural Research Studies was the highlight of the 3rd day of AAPOR 2023. The session was organised and managed by Mandy Sha and featured experts of the highest calibre in the field: R. Suresh from RTI International, Patrick Moynihan from Pew Research Center, Patti Goerman from the U.S. Census Bureau Bureau, and Heather Kitada Smalley from Willamette University. The session did not follow the usual format, rather, it was a brainstorming session where the presenters played a pivotal role in laying out the issues and driving the discussion with the attendees, not your average session. Collaboration and the importance of input by all stakeholders, including language services providers, both from a linguistic and cultural points of view, the bread and butter of cApStAn’s expertise, was one the main topics that generated a very stimulating conversation. There was a consensus that ‘Empathy’, an approach offered by R. Suresh, could prove the way of achieving best possible collaboration between different stakeholders in such complex projects.