Willem Saris, born in Leiden, the Netherlands, in 1943. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Professor of Methodology at the University of Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2003 – 30 June 2004)
A NEW VIEW ON SURVEY RESEARCH
During my stay at the NIAS, I worked on two topics and organized the work of the themegroup. The first topic was an attempt to develop a new model for survey response behaviour based on the ART model of Goldberg. The mathematics and programming was carried out by Akos Munnich. It was my task to ensure that a system was developed that contained the correct mathematical features but was also suitable to deal with elementary social science information and questions. I developed a structure wg. The intention was to use this system to create a database of messages to test how far this model can describe phenomena from social science literature. A paper will be presented on these experiments at the RC 33 conference in Amsterdam to be held in August 2004.
The second topic was a study in cooperation with William van der Veld. We worked on a model to and compared it with the quasi-simplex model used by Achen and Erikson. Our model suggests that people can have stable attitudes, but when a response is asked for, they form a temporary opinion that is based on what is most salient in the memory in the particular context at that moment. The result of this automatic process is reflected in the response. Our model fit the data and illustrated why other models get different results. NIAS provides researchers with the opportunity to devote a whole year mostly to research. Unfortunately, I was unable to take full advantage of it myself because of obligations in Spain, but William van der Veld had the opportunity to finish the work we were doing. Nevertheless, my stay at NIAS was very enjoyable and useful and I am very grateful for the opportunity that was given to my group and me.