At the Center for Opinion Research, we are proud of our continued reputation for excellence. During FY 2015, we remained at the forefront of survey research, studying the mechanisms of survey research itself and using the most up-to-date methodologies. Below is a summary of our most important projects and initiatives.
Healthcare and Community Services Research. Our most significant projects this year were studies that identified healthcare and community services needs, social determinants of health, satisfaction with programs and services, and related concerns. In addition, we conducted a number of market, branding, and consumer preference surveys for local healthcare organizations such as Lancaster General Health, Wellspan Health, the Reading Health System, and the Lehigh Valley Health Network. Noteworthy projects included:
- A Health Needs Assessment of the Old Order Amish and Mennonite Communities in Lancaster, Somerset, and Mifflin Counties, designed with F&M Biology Professor Kirk Miller and funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute;
- Community Health Needs Assessments of York, Adams, Lancaster, and Lebanon Counties;
- An Oral Health Needs Assessment of Berks County;
- A Client Satisfaction Survey for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program of the Community Action Program of Lancaster County; and
- A Community Needs Assessment for United Way of Lancaster County.
The Center is also an integral part of several important healthcare partnerships, including the Lancaster County Business Group on Health, LiveWell Lancaster County, the Lancaster Annual Health Summit, and the Lancaster County Mental Health Collaborative. With the Center’s help and expertise, during FY15 these groups continued to make great strides toward improving the health of Lancaster County residents.
Education Research. Our community partners also include educational organizations, especially Franklin & Marshall College and the School District of Lancaster. For many years, we have helped these groups evaluate grants, programs, and services. Notable projects during FY15 included:
- Evaluations of the School District of Lancaster’s many federally-funded programs, including Title I, the GEAR UP college readiness program, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers;
- Assessment of the F&M Ware Institute for Civic Engagement’s community internship program, F&M Works, which is funded by a two-year grant from the Steinman Foundation; and
- Ongoing evaluation of the Central Pennsylvania Consortium’s Blended Learning Module pilot program, held at F&M, Dickinson, and Gettysburg colleges, and funded by the Mellon Foundation.
Public Policy and Public Opinion Research. Also during the fiscal year, we continued the public policy and public opinion research for which we have become widely known. Most significantly:
- The F&M College Poll. FY15 surveys measured public opinion on a number of issues, including the 2014 Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Election, for which we accurately predicted the results. Other state issues addressed included budget and taxes, school funding, legalizing marijuana, and prison reform.
- A study for the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority to assess the results of a moratorium on an insurance fraud public awareness campaign.
New Technology. During FY 2015, we continued to improve our effectiveness by:
- Designing online surveys to be compatible with multiple web browsers and platforms, including smart phones and tablets;
- Upgrading our computer-assisted data collection software, used for telephone surveys, to a graphical interface for Windows;
- Developing online, interactive platforms for viewing and understanding research results; and
- Using GIS mapping techniques to display various data and indicators geographically.
As always, our focus during FY15 was on service to our clients, the Central Pennsylvania community, and the citizens of Pennsylvania. We look forward to many years of helping organizations across the state have a positive impact on the lives of those they serve.