Frequently Asked Questions

Why was I contacted?

The Center for Survey Research at UMass Boston collects data for use by policy makers, health researchers, government officials, and others who want to make important and well-informed decisions based on the most current information that the public can provide.

How did you get my name or address?

In all likelihood, your name or address was selected at random to be included in one of our surveys. Or it is possible that we selected your name at random from a specialized list of people who have some unique experience or characteristic, such as a study of cardiologists or members of a particular union. Either way, your participation is very important and much appreciated.

We collect data in different ways, sometimes in person, sometimes on the phone, sometimes by mail, and sometimes via the internet. If you have any questions about the specific project for which you were contacted, feel free to ask the interviewer who contacted you, or feel free to call or email us directly. Use this link to get our contact information.

What is survey research?

Survey research is a tool for collecting information from individuals about themselves. In order to make policy decisions or to understand public issues, such as public health concerns, we need to do that in an informed way. To be fully informed, we need input from individuals. Survey research using randomly-selected participants is one way to systematically collect information from people. We sometimes try to talk to you in person or we may call on the phone, send a questionnaire in the mail, or ask you to fill out a survey on the internet. The results from all participants are then compiled into group statistics that are used to inform discussions relevant to important decisions.

Why is it important that I participate?

Each address or name is selected at random to represent hundreds or thousands of others. We are not able to substitute another name or address for yours, and if you don't participate it means that people like you are less represented in the information we provide to decision-makers. Your participation is voluntary but we encourage you to consider the important uses of the data we collect. Your information will be combined with other participants in the form of statistical data and your identity will never be connected to your responses.

But I put my number on the Do Not Call Registry…

Survey research is not included in the Do Not Call law, as we are not "commercial speech" -- that is, we do not sell anything and we do not ask for money. We respect your right not to participate in our surveys, but we encourage you to learn more about why your participation is important, how the data are used, how the data are protected, and what we can do to make your participation as easy as possible for you (such as making an appointment for a more convenient time). We hope that your visit to our website is helpful in this regard, but feel free to contact us directly if you would like more information.

Are you trying to sell me something?

Most definitely NOT! We are researchers and our goal is to provide the highest quality data to the agencies, analysts, and policy makers who hire us to collect data.

Will anyone else see my answers to your questions?

Your answers to our questions are processed separately from any information that might identify you as an individual. In addition, only research staff has access to the data until it has been combined with that of other participants into anonymous statistical tables.

How can I contact you?

We look forward to hearing from you! Please use this link to get our contact information.

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