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September 30, 2011

AP joins with NORC to make U of C research public

The Associated Press (AP) and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago announced late last month the formation of the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a virtual center administered out of Chicago. The social research carried out by the Associated Press-NORC center will be circulated to the public through the AP.

As a non-profit organization that conducts social research, NORC runs opinion surveys and other data-collection activities. By partnering with the AP, NORC findings will reach an expanded audience through the wide range of publications the AP is affiliated with.

“NORC does rigorous social science and its mission is to make sure that that social science serves the public good,” Vice President and Director of Communications for NORC Greg Lanier said. “So the better we can disseminate that information and make sure it gets into the hands of decision makers and the public, the better.”

Lanier said he also hopes to see the center interacting more closely with the wider social research community at the University in the future, considering that NORC is near campus and has already developed a close research relationship with many faculty members.

“I would foresee [NORC] reaching out to faculty members and researchers within the University of Chicago community and including them in future studies where it makes sense and where there’s an overlap in research agendas,” Lanier said.

The center recently published its first report, Civil Liberties and Security: 10 Years After 9/11, which focused on how American ideas of security and views on civil liberty have changed since 9/11. Among its findings, the report found that Americans have a lack of confidence in government and that those Americans who worry about terrorism have more support for security policies that are invasive toward civil liberties.

“I think it really served the public well in that it provided some insight into how that national event is still very much part of the public consciousness and how it’s affected us even a decade later,” Lanier said.

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