Jennifer Dykema

Position title: Associate Professor of Sociology; Faculty Director of the UW Survey Center


Phone: (608) 556-5813

4304B Sterling Hall
457 N. Charter Street

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My research focuses on survey research methodology, identifying sources of errors produced in the process of gathering standardized measurements and developing and implementing methods to reduce those errors. This work includes projects supported by extramural funding from NSF and NIH and examines three main areas of inquiry: interviewer-respondent interaction, questionnaire design, and methods to increase response rates. In a current project funded by NSF, we are using data and transcripts from a health survey measuring barriers and facilitators to participating in medical research among underrepresented groups to examine the interplay between the characteristics of survey questions, behaviors of interviewers and respondents, and the socio-demographic attributes of interviewers and respondents. In my role as Faculty Director of the University of Wisconsin Survey Center (UWSC), I oversee a program of methodological research that incorporates experiments and evaluations in ongoing projects to address critical issues such as response rates and nonresponse bias, the influence of field procedures on costs, and the consequences of various design and implementation decisions on data quality. Examples of recent projects include: what incentive combinations improve survey response; does straightlining behavior vary by mode in mail-web mixed mode studies; how should sample members be addressed in postal surveys; and how does data quality vary for agree-disagree versus construct-specific questions.


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004


Methods and Statistics, Social Psychology and Microsociology, Demography and Ecology, Family


Soc 351 Introduction to Survey Methods for Social Research (to be offered in Spring 2023)
Soc 751 Survey Methods for Social Research
Soc 752 Measurement and Questionnaires for Survey Research (Questionnaire Design) (to be offered Spring 2024)




Olson, Kristen, Jolene D. Smyth, Jennifer Dykema, Allyson Holbrook, Frauke Kreuter, and Brady T. West (editors). 2020. Interviewer Effects from a Total Survey Error Perspective. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC.


Dykema, Jennifer, Nora Cate Schaeffer, Dana Garbarski, and Michael Hout. 2020. “The Role of Question Characteristics in Designing and Evaluating Survey Questions.” Pp. 119-152 in Advances in Questionnaire Design, Development, Evaluation, and Testing, edited by P. Beatty, D. Collins, L. Kaye, J. Padilla, G.B. Willis, and A. Wilmot. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Schaeffer, Nora Cate Schaeffer and Jennifer Dykema. 2020. “Advances in the Science of Asking Questions.” Annual Review of Sociology 46:37-60.

Dykema, Jennifer, Dana Garbarski, Ian F. Wall, and Dorothy Farrar Edwards. 2019. “Measuring Trust in Medical Researchers: Adding Insights from Cognitive Interviews to Examine Agree-Disagree and Construct-Specific Survey Questions.” Journal of Official Statistics 35:353-386.

Dykema, Jennifer, Kerryann DiLoreto, Kenneth D. Croes, Dana Garbarski, and Jeremy Beach. 2017. “Factors Associated with Participation in the Collection of Saliva Samples by Mail in a Survey of Older Adults.” Public Opinion Quarterly 81:57-85. DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfw045

Garbarski, Dana, Nora Cate Schaeffer, and Jennifer Dykema. 2016. “Interviewing Practices, Conversational Practices, and Rapport: Responsiveness and Engagement in the Survey Interview.” Sociological Methodology 46:1-38. DOI: 10.1177/0081175016637890

Dykema, Jennifer, Karen Jaques, Kristen Cyffka, Nadia Assad, Rae Ganci Hammers, Kelly Elver, Kristen C. Malecki, and John Stevenson. 2015. “Effects of Sequential Prepaid Incentives and Envelope Messaging in Mail Surveys.” Public Opinion Quarterly 79:906-931. DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfv041

Dykema, Jennifer, Nathan R. Jones, Tara Piché, and John Stevenson. 2013. “Surveying Clinicians by Web: Current Issues in Design and Administration.” Evaluation & the Health Professions 36:352-381. DOI:10.1177/0163278713496630