government & academic research

[ Research Areas ]

Knowledge Networks conducts studies across a range of subject areas, including:

  1. Voter Attitudes & Behavior
  2. Economic and Social Policy
  3. Health Services and Policy
  4. Medical Outcomes
  5. Environmental Policy
  6. Education Policy
  7. Program Evaluation
  8. Rare Sub-population Studies

Voter attitudes & behavior

Since 2000, when KnowledgePanel® studies were first conducted, political scientists and other researchers have turned to Knowledge Networks for accurate and reliable measurements of U.S. public opinion.  Because of the probability basis of the panel and the care with which KN studies are conducted and documented, KnowledgePanel-based studies have been a common presence in the leading social science academic journals and conference proceedings.  Compared to other online panels that rely on convenience samples, KnowledgePanel samples are more representative not only on conventional demographic metrics, but also in terms of knowledge of political institutions and elected representatives as well as voter behaviors.

Most of the best-known KnowledgePanel studies involving voter attitudes and behaviors have taken advantage of the high cooperation rates obtainable for longitudinal studies.  For instance, the AP-Yahoo! Election Survey is based on over 10 waves of data collection, with fresh cross-sectional sample inserts for panel conditioning tests. The National Annenberg Election Survey, also tracking change in the electorate for the 2008 general election, involved empanelling approximately 20,000 Knowledge Networks panelists for five waves of surveys between the fall of 2007 and early 2009.  Fifty percent of the 20,000 respondents participated in all five waves of data collection.  Perhaps best known of all, Knowledge Networks conducted the 2007-2009 American National Election Studies (ANES) web panel funded by the National Science Foundation and created for Stanford University.  KN conducted 21 waves of data collection with a base sample of over 2,000 households.  The estimated AAPOR RR3 response rate at the panel recruitment stage was 42 percent.1

Other studies have involved tracking of U.S. public opinion through continuous measurement using fresh cross-sectional samples from KnowledgePanel.  For instance, Knowledge Networks has conducted since 2005 the Annenberg National Health Communication Survey (ANHCS), a continuous tracker of health care policy attitudes, health knowledge and beliefs, and media exposure conducted for the Annenberg School for Communication.  With over 60 surveys conducted to date, Knowledge Networks provides a monthly measure of health policy attitudes, with the design accommodating monthly questionnaire modifications in order to capture reactions to changes in the health policy environment.  ANHCS data are available to the public.

Finally, under the survey infrastructure made possible by NSF in funding the Time Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS), Knowledge Networks has conducted dozens of surveys of voter attitudes and behaviors designed by innovative principal investigators representing the breadth of the social science community. 

Yet other studies, too numerous to mention in detail, have taken advantage of multimedia-survey capabilities at Knowledge Networks to conduct experimental studies of voters and citizens reactions to various stimuli.

Economic and social policy

KnowledgePanel® is used in a variety of economic and social policy studies for three principle reasons:

  1. the capability to conduct discrete-choice studies and to use willingness-to-pay protocols;
  2. the capability to conduct longitudinal studies that document within-respondent changes on social policy issues; and
  3. the high-quality of KN data as the only probability-based Internet-accessible sample available to economic and social policy researchers.

KnowledgePanel has been used for a variety of studies from economic contingent valuation projects to surveys about competing health policy choices.  Specific studies can be found in our bibliography.

Health services and policy

The Health Care and Policy Research Center at Knowledge Networks is a resource for investigators in public sectors to conduct high quality research on important issues of the day.  Focusing on the implementation of studies for peer-review and public release, our team of seasoned researchers provides leadership on the design of health-related research, particularly those targeting hard-to-reach populations such as sufferers of rare health conditions, caregivers for adults and children, and health care professionals.

Medical outcomes

KN can support researchers who are seeking to conduct medical outcomes research.  We have experience working with both public and private sector clients to understand patient needs and experiences and how these needs and experiences may change as the result of a given health care intervention.  Our team can help to design and implement an outcomes-based research study as well as understand and report on the resulting data. 

Environmental policy

Knowledge Networks has been a proud participant of some of the most innovative environmental policy research conducted in recent years, with surveys funded by the major regulating agencies and developers of federal environmental policy, including NOAA, EPA, and the Department of Energy.   Knowledge Networks has also conducted important survey projects for universities and private-sector clients attempting to inform Federal environmental policy and rule making. See our project descriptions for ample examples of our environmental policy surveys, as well as an A:I/R article on Stated Preference methodology..

The history of our work in this area starts with the frustration of our customers who attempted to conduct environmental policy research through other means. Much of environmental policy survey research is based on varieties of contingent valuation or willingness-to-pay methodology from the discrete choice branch of the marketing sciences.  Depending upon the precise formulation of the study design, the survey will embody text-based or other visuals to educate the respondents on hypothetical choices that will be made by the respondents, or other visuals that display different profiles or bundles of choices for respondents to consider.  Attempts to conduct these surveys by telephone or disk by mail, and also by in-person means, are technically difficult or too expensive for many applications. The online mode supports the design features required by such environmental policy. When KnowledgePanel was created and for the first time there was a probability-based sample solution for online surveys, the infrastructure was finally in place for online environmental policy research.

Knowledge Networks continues to be actively involved in advancing the state of the art for online interviewing using contingent valuation and other forms of discrete choice methodology. Please contact us for help in thinking through your study needs.

Education policy

KnowledgePanel® has a nationally representative panel of about 1,000 public and private elementary and secondary school teachers.  The demographic distribution for these teachers approximates national estimates from the U.S. Department of Education's Schools and Staffing Survey.  This provides researchers with a quick and cost-efficient means for obtaining teacher input on a variety of current education issues, such as incentive pay, teacher performance assessments, teacher retention, and the Obama administration's proposal to replace AYP (adequate yearly progress) with a measure of student progress toward readiness for college or a career.

Program evaluation

Often required by funding agencies and used to make decisions about program continuation or expansion, KnowledgePanel is ideally suited for use in program evaluations.  KnowledgePanel's extensive profile data series (information collected annually on all panelists) can be used to identify specific program participants, and participants can be surveyed longitudinally over time to provide both cumulative and summative evaluation findings designed to facilitate data-based decisions about program implementation and delivery.

Rare subpopulation studies

Central to Knowledge Networks' mission of supporting the social science research community is providing rare sample for subpopulation studies.  With approximately 50,000 panel members, KN can target groups to meet researchers' study needs.  For example, KN's Chronic Condition Panel has pre-identified people who sufferer from of a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and depression (to name just a few) and/or who have experienced greater than average health care utilization.  This panel gives investigators the opportunity to rapidly, interactively, and affordably conduct statistically representative research among even low-incidence healthcare groups. KN's Teacher Panel has a national sample of 1,000 elementary and secondary school teachers, allowing researchers to solicit views from a representative sample of teachers quickly and at low cost.  We have also pre-identified panelists by a variety of behaviors (e.g., smokers, drinkers, voters, 401K investors, online newspaper readers) and attitudes (e.g., political ideology, concerned about economy).

We will be happy to talk with you about specific study ideas.




1'Study Page: ANES 2008-2009 Panel Study,'

For more information on Private Sector studies, contact:

Mike Lawrence
202 370-6345

Naomi Keller
312 416-3685

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