Norman Bradburn


Member Since: 2017

Norman M. Bradburn, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, serves on the faculties of Chicago Harris, the Department of Psychology, the Booth School of Business, and the College. He is a former provost of the University (1984-1989), chairman of the Department of Behavioral Sciences (1973-1979), and associate dean of the Division of the Social Sciences (1971-1973). From 2000-2004, he was the assistant director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Bradburn is currently a senior fellow at the independent research organization, NORC at the University of Chicago. Associated with NORC since 1961, he has been director of NORC and president of its Board of Trustees.

A social psychologist, Bradburn has been at the forefront in developing theory and practice in the field of sample survey research. He has focused on psychological well-being and assessing quality of life, particularly through the use of large-scale sample surveys; non-sampling errors in sample surveys; and research on cognitive processes in responses to sample surveys. His book, Thinking About Answers: The Application of Cognitive Process to Survey Methodology (co-authored with Seymour Sudman and Norbert Schwarz; Jossey-Bass, 1996), follows three other publications on the methodology of designing and constructing questionnaires: Polls and Surveys: Understanding What They Tell Us (with Seymour Sudman; Jossey-Bass, 1988); Asking Questions: A Practical Guide to Questionnaire Construction (with Seymour Sudman; Jossey-Bass, 1982; 2nd edition with Brian Wansink, 2004); and Improving Interviewing Method and Questionnaire Design (Jossey-Bass, 1979).

Bradburn was chair of the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences (NRC/NAS) from 1993 to 1998, and is past president of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (1991–1992). From 1988 to 1992, he chaired the NRC/NAS Board on International Comparative Studies in Education. Bradburn chaired the NRC/NAS panel to advise the Census Bureau on alternative methods for conducting the 2000 Census. The report, published as Counting People in the Information Age, was presented to the Census Bureau in October 1994. He was a member of the NRC/NAS panel to review the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the panel to assess the 2000 Census. He was most recently a member of the NRC/NAS Panel on the Measurement of Subjective Well-being, and it currently a member of the Committee on the Integration of Humanities and STEMM education. Bradburn was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994 and to the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences in 2012. In 2004 he received the Waksberg prize of the American Statistical Association for distinguished contributions to survey statistics and in 2011 the Mitofsky prize for contributions to public opinion research. He is the co-director of the Humanities Indicator project at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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