With support from the National Science Foundation, The Public Research Institute (PRI) at San Francisco State University (SFSU) will revitalize its survey research facility. The award will be used to completely replace PRI's aging equipment with state-of-the-art technology and will dramatically enhance the research services and training PRI provides to the campus community, collaborating researchers, community organizations, and government agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area and California.
The specific objectives of the proposal are to: (a) Improve PRI's sample management and quality control capacities in order to increase the quality and cost of collected data; (b) Support the integrated use of multiple survey modalities, innovative interviewing methods and multiple languages to improve research focused on underrepresented populations; (c) Provide the foundation for a program of methodological research for the study of highly diverse populations and local communities; and (d) Provide technical support, training, and improvements to PRI's office environment, including access for the disabled. The proposed steps to reach these objectives include the replacement of PRI's Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) software and computers, comprehensive training of institute staff, refurnishing of the Institute's workstations, and support of a full time support technician.
The proposed infrastructure will support a coordinated program of research by SFSU faculty and PRI staff. The goal of these combined efforts is to enhance PRI's capacity as a comprehensive center for community and regional research in the San Francisco Bay Area. The new infrastructure will allow innovative combinations of survey modalities (for example, internet-based data collection), as well as greater integration of qualitative data with the statistical precision of traditional survey methodology. Community-focused research must produce more than statistical profiles; the goal is to accumulate understanding of the region as it is understood by its inhabitants within their social, cultural, economic, geographic, and historical contexts.
The project will bring substantial benefits to all the individuals and institutions served by PRI. SFSU students in the behavioral and social sciences will be introduced to the new technology and methods as employees, through classroom demonstrations and research projects, and involvement with faculty research. SFSU faculty will benefit through improved support for research and PRI's emerging role as a hub for interdisciplinary and collaborative projects. The support is likely to result in more competitive and innovative grant proposals by faculty members as well as enhancement of SFSU's ability to recruit top researchers. The proposed infrastructure will similarly enhance PRI's ability to provide high quality research to the public sector in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly with regard to the growing importance of research concerning underrepresented populations. Because the improvements will increase operational efficiency as well as covering the cost of acquiring the technology, the project will enable PRI to continue providing research services to all of its constituents at a reasonable cost.