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American Association for Public Opinion Research

ResearchHack 2.0: A Recap (or How to Eradicate Polio in 3 Hours)

by Chuck Shuttles, Chair of Education Subcommittee on ResearchHack
Could you create a research plan to help eradicate polio? In three hours?! Well our amazing teams of hackers attempted just that.

At the 2015 Annual Conference in Hollywood, Fla., AAPOR held its second ResearchHack (RH 2.0). Substantially revamped from last year, we challenged young professionals and new conference attendees to respond to a real-world research challenge. Four teams made up of members from across academia, government and profit/nonprofit sectors came together to address the same goal: To develop innovative research methods to eradicate polio globally.

The hackathon began at noon on Thursday, May 15, with a kickoff session. The hackers met their teammates and created team names — Hackers for a Cause (NORC at the University of Chicago & SSRS), #NWJ (NORC at the University of Chicago, Westat, & JPSM), Polio Hackers (Kaiser Family Foundation & Nielsen), and #OPVVIP (Census & Fors Marsh Group). The teams were briefed by Gillian SteelFisher (Harvard School for Public Health) on the challenge of global eradication of polio.
 

Following Up on 2014’s 
ResearchHack 1.0

As an extra special presentation during the ResearchHack orientation, a group of hackers from last year’s hackathon and volunteers delivered a presentation on how they carried out the research from last year’s ResearchHack 1.0 to benefit Feeding America (the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity).

You can see more about how this has unfolded here.

The hackers had only three hours to develop their research proposals and discuss their ideas with advisors, participants from ResearchHack 1.0 and Gillian SteelFisher. During the 4:00-5:30 p.m. panel session the teams were given 15 minutes to present their proposals and respond to comments from the judges.

The expert panel of judges (Trent Buskirk, Marketing Systems Group; Mick Couper, University of Michigan; Kristen Olson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; and Gillian Steelfisher) were given the tough task of evaluating each proposal based on whether it was impactful in meeting the research goal, innovative in solving the research problem and functional in implementing the design in a reasonable timeline and budget.

The winning team: Polio Hackers! Congratulations to Symone Jackson, Kaiser Family Foundation; Shelli Kashriel, Nielsen; and Vera Kurmlavage, Nielsen.

Summing up the event, Gillian SteelFisher (as both a judge and researcher in field of disease eradication) stated, “It was amazing to see so many great young minds considering a research issue I care so passionately about. And their ideas from three hours were truly incredible!”

The organizers sincerely thank the sponsors, Nielsen and The Urban Institute, for their support of RH 2.0, along with all the brilliant hackers, judges, and advisors for generously committing their time and effort to this event. We also thank the AAPOR staff and the Council for their support throughout the planning process.

Have an idea for a fun and innovative activity to engage new conference attendees and young professionals? Have you seen a particularly interesting event at another conference? Would love to have your ideas (and energy!). Send an email to Mira Norton ([email protected]), chair of the Professional Development Subcommittee.