Hosted at the University of Chicago, the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) is a US national research organization which works in cooperation with government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and private corporations. The center’s studies range across local, regional, and international perspectives, but its focus are national studies with an interdisciplinary framework, centered on five areas: economics and population; education; health survey; mental health and criminal justice; statistics and methodology. Its website provides detailed descriptions of ongoing projects, complex surveys and sophisticated empirical analysis, questionnaire design and survey methodology, data collections and data preparation strategies. Content material seems quite fresh, along with info about the center’s activities ans organization. Documents are provided with metadata and in various formats, from pdf papers and summary reports to audio-visual presentations. Access and material retrieval is completely free for all users; downloading is limited to research reports while other records can be saved only on-screen. Users can subscribe to a free quarterly newsletter and to a RSS news feed. Along with a keyword search facility (featured on each page’s top bar), several external links are also provided under a professionally-looking structure.
The National Opinion Research Center
An US center for social surveys
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
Opinion polls on media and public policy
The Pew Center is an independent research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics and public policy issues. It is best known for regular national surveys that measure public attentiveness to major news stories, and for its polling activity that charts trends in values and fundamental political and social attitudes. The Center’s purpose is to serve as a forum for ideas on the media and public policy through public opinion research. Most of its current survey results, a long list of commentaries, polls and datasets are made available free of charge, while for other records (especially polls) a free personal identification is required. Search and browsing features by year or topic are offered, while downloading options are quite limited: mainly only webpage saving is possible and few records are provided in pdf format or printer-friendly versions. The website is regularly updated and provides a large number of external links to associations dealing with media and public opinion studies. Search options and comments help orientation but no other navigational aid (i.e. sitemap) is offered.
The Public Policy Institute of California
A Californian think tank on public policies
Established in 1994 and dedicated to improving public policy, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is a private, non-profit organization. Its research interests focus on three program areas – population, economy, governance and public finance – articulated in 15 different policy areas, from immigration to education and health. Through its website, the PPIC makes its findings widely available not only to state and local officials, but also to decision makers in the non-profit and private sectors, the media, and the general public. For each research area, a large set of publications produced since 1996 is available. They include reports, research briefs, surveys (mainly Californian state-wide surveys), fact sheets, special papers, and demographic bulletins. Well-structured webpages give access to full-text reports and abstracts for free, while only for hard-cover full-text copies a payment is required. Each record is downloadable in pdf format without any fee and can be easily located through an advanced search engine or by browsing through clear categories. Many records are available also in Spanish. In addition to publications the PPIC website provides data sets on California as a free service, covering areas not readily available from other sources (i.e. demographic, financial, political participation data).
The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
A large data archive on public opinion surveys and research
The Roper Center For Public Opinion Research is a research center founded in 1947 by Roper and Gallup offering a rich public opinion data archive and promoting cross-national studies on political and social issues. Through its website, the center provides a large amount of polling data, reports of public opinion surveys, datasets and articles. Along with information on ongoing projects, users can access reports, articles and project descriptions for free, while for complete datasets retrieval an institutional subscription is required. Some free (limited) samples are available for all users, as well as a free trial option. The website also offers a searchable bibliography of scholarly publications covering the Center’s publications for the past twenty years, along with a glossary of terms related to public opinion research. Other special collections, mostly related to research studies conducted in countries other than the US, are only available to registered users or with a fee. All records, from free metadata and reports to complex survey data, can be downloaded in their original format, mainly in pdf. The overall updating rate is quite regular, but it is also based to specific research publication. Several additional resources and an advanced search facility are also provided, under a coherent outline and a clear categorization structure that enables an easy navigation.
A research unit on European governance
Located in Moncalieri, near Turin, and set up in December 2003, the Research Unit on European Governance (URGE) is a research centre devoted to the study of European governance from a perspective of political science and political economy. URGE aims to foster the education of young researchers and to promote debate on European governance. URGE research work is organized around five main topics: European integration and social citizenship; the open method of co-ordination and national institutional capabilities; public policies and levels of governance in the European Union; actors and institutions in the governance system of the European Union; compliance with European policy and law. A series of working papers (in Italian or in English) in pdf version is available fully for free in each research section, while an entire website’s part is dedicated to news, seminars and conferences organized by the center, also in cooperation with other research organizations. Lists of external connections to pertinent web-resources, journals and research archives are also available. Although some sections are currently under construction and the quantity of material may be increased, this website represents a good opportunity for scholars interested in European governance. Thanks to a simple content organization, this website is easy to navigate while its content can be quickly retrieved.