Each year, WAPOR presents the WAPOR Helen Dinerman Award to a scholar for his or her sustained contributions to the field of public opinion. WAPOR is pleased to recognize and honor a colleague whose career-long work in survey research methodology has deeply influenced data collection and data quality around the globe – Dr. Edith de Leeuw.
Dr. de Leeuw is a professor of survey methodology and survey quality at the Department of Methodology and Statistics at the University of Utrecht. Her intellectual and professional travels have seen her at the University of Amsterdam, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, and Free University, where she earned her doctorate in the social and cultural sciences and her dissertation revolved around issues of data quality in mail, telephone, and face-to-face surveys.
This work brought to the attention of methodologists throughout the world that measurement differences across survey modes make it difficult to interpret data across surveys. Her work provided the most comprehensive review of research from multiple countries that was available at that time. As a result of this effort, Dr. de Leeuw became an early proponent of using self-administered data collection methods to reduce the social desirability and acquiescence that prevail in telephone and in-person surveys. Many of her 175-plus articles and two dozen monographs and edited volumes have followed up on these issues.
Dr. de Leeuw is the co-editor of four internationally reknowned volumes: Survey Measurement and Process Quality, Advances in Telephone Survey Methodology, the International Handbook of Survey Methodology, and the forthcoming Total Survey Error in Practice.
Dr. de Leeuw expertise has placed her on the editorial boards of Sociological Methods and Research, GESIS International’s Methodology and Data Analysis, and Field Methods. She edits the Yearbook of the Netherlands Organization for Market Research and Information Management, and is an associate editor of the Journal of Official Statistics.
Her advocating the advancement of survey methodologies worldwide has helped numerous communities of researchers. In specific domains, Dr. de Leeuw’s research has facilitated the development and deployment of new survey technologies. She has helped scores of scholars understand how measurement methods can be adapted to special populations such as children and the elderly. Her work has spoken to policy audiences in multiple disciplines, and it has led to the development of new tools for practitioners in psychology, sociology, education, and applied and policy research.
This is not too surprising, given Dr. de Leeuw’s own research in these areas. Over the course of her career, she has served on the faculty at the Universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht – in education, sociology, psychology, and now of course, methodology and statistics. She has spent several years as a research fellow at the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Pure Research as well as an external advisor and innovation manager at Statistics Netherlands. Her lifetime of achievements has made her an obvious recipient of WAPOR’s highest distinction, and we are pleased to add her name to the list of past recipients.
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