Survey Respondent Information

You’ve been contacted by the Penn State Survey Research Center. We greatly appreciate your participation in the important research projects we conduct. Please read below for answers to frequently asked questions.

What and who is the Survey Research Center?
The Survey Research Center provides a central resource for both Penn State and non-Penn State researchers to collect data for their survey research projects. Visit the What We Do and People pages for additional information.

I received a letter/email, what does that mean?
If you’ve received a letter or an email from the Survey Research Center, it is likely that you are being notified in advance that a researcher would like to contact you for participation in a survey. The letter should identify the research project’s name, the name of the researcher responsible for the project, and explain the background of the research project and what you will be asked to do. There should be a phone number and email address that you can use to contact the Survey Research Center for more information.

I was contacted by phone, what does that mean?
If you’ve received a phone call or voice mail message from the Survey Research Center, we are most likely inviting you to participate in a research project or trying to conduct a survey over the phone. The research assistant calling you should have provided the name of the project and a direct phone number to reach staff associated with the project.

What if I am not sure which project I'm being contacted for?
Please contact our main office and we will be happy to help you. You can email us at or call toll-free at 800-648-3617.

How did the Survey Research Center get my name, address, or phone number?
The research projects conducted by the Survey Research Center have a variety of sources for the names of invited participants and their contact information. For instance, perhaps you participated in an earlier component of a project and the associated researcher would like to conduct a follow-up interview. On other projects, you may have been randomly selected from a phone directory, or your phone number may have been randomly generated. On yet other projects, your membership in some population may explain why you were invited (Penn State student or staff member, a resident of a specific township or county, etc.).

If you received a letter or email, the source of your contact information may be included. Likewise, if you are contacted by phone, the research assistant calling you can provide this information.

Who is in charge of the Survey Research Center?
The Survey Research Center operates under the leadership of its Director, Dr. Kurt Johnson. Although a Penn State faculty member, Dr. Johnson is most likely not the researcher in charge of the specific research project that you have been invited to participate in. Rather, he oversees the staff that conducts data collection for research projects in addition to providing consultation services to researchers.