14th Annual Dissertation Awards

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The Survey Research Laboratory (SRL) is pleased to announce the annual Robert Ferber Dissertation Award and the Seymour Sudman Dissertation Award, both for excellence in survey research as part of a doctoral dissertation. Eligible dissertations will involve either methodological research related to surveys (including the broader area of cognition that can be applied to survey research) or will be based on primary survey data collection on any topic.

An award of up to $2,000 will be given to the winner of each of these two awards. All doctoral candidates on the UIUC campus whose dissertations meet the above criteria are eligible, provided they have successfully defended their proposals by April 25, 2015, and have not yet defended their final dissertation. Proposals will be judged on their overall quality and on their contribution to the field of survey research. Receiving or being considered for other awards does not preclude a student from applying for this award. Awards will be made in September 2015. Funds have been endowed for these awards so that they will continue annually in perpetuity.

DEADLINE: Applications are due no later than May 30, 2015.

Application materials include a letter of interest, a letter from your dissertation advisor/chair recommending your work for the award, a research description of no more than five (5) double-spaced pages, and your current vita; all materials MUST be submitted online.

Click here for further guidance and/or to submit your application documents.

Finalists may be asked to submit their full proposal or additional information at a later date.

Questions about the Ferber-Sudman Awards may be directed to Sharon Shavitt at shavitt@illinois.edu.

Past award winners and dissertation abstracts.

Robert Ferber (1922–1981) and Seymour Sudman (1928–2000) were eminent scholars in the field of survey research. It is in memory of their contributions both to the field and to their students that these awards have been endowed.

Robert Ferber

  • Robert FerberBob Ferber spent his entire academic career at the University of Illinois (1948–1981). He received a B.S. in Mathematics from the City College of New York in 1942 and an M.A. (1945) and Ph.D. (1951) in Economics and Statistics from the University of Chicago. Dr. Ferber was a Professor of Marketing, Research Professor of Economics and of Business Administration, and founding Director of the Survey Research Laboratory from 1964 to 1981.

    In addition to authoring numerous articles, monographs, and chapters in books, Dr. Ferber was the author or co-author of 17 books, including Statistical Techniques in Market Research (1949), Research Methods in Economics and Business (1962), Estudios Fundamentales de Mercadotecnia (1970), Consumer Panels (with Seymour Sudman, 1979), Consumption and Income Distribution in Latin America: Selected Topics (1980), and Social Experimentation and Economic Policy (1982).

    Always active in his field, Ferber was the Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association (1959–1963), Editor of the Journal of Marketing Research (1964–1969), President of the American Marketing Association (1969–1970), and Editor of the Journal of Consumer Research (1977–1981). He is survived by his wife Marianne A. Ferber (Professor Emerita of Economics and Women's Studies) and two children.

    Bob Ferber used to joke that one of his greatest achievements was recruiting Seymour Sudman to the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1968.

Seymour Sudman

  • Seymour SudmanSeymour Sudman received his B.S. in Mathematics from Roosevelt University in 1949 and a Ph.D. in Business from the University of Chicago in 1962. From 1962 to 1968, he was a lecturer at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Director of Sampling and a Senior Study Director at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).

    In 1968, Dr. Sudman joined the faculty of the University of Illinois and the staff of the Survey Research Laboratory. He was Professor of Business Administration and of Sociology and Research Professor and Deputy Director at SRL. In 1985, he was named the Walter H. Stellner Distinguished Professor of Marketing in the Department of Business Administration.

    Sudman was a fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1983 and President of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) in 1981–1982. In 1987, he was awarded the AAPOR Award for lifetime achievement, along with his longtime collaborator Norman Bradburn.

    The author of 19 books and hundreds of articles and presentations, Dr. Sudman is remembered for several major works, including Response Effects in Surveys (1974), Applied Sampling (1976), Asking Questions (1982), Thinking About Answers: The Cognitive Processes to Survey Methodology (1996), and Marketing Research (1998). He is survived by his wife Blanche, three children, and two grandchildren.