My first job after graduating with a B.A. in psychology was working for the ICPSR data archive. Here I discovered survey research and after archiving a number of studies, became very keen to be on the data collection side! This led to working with a health psychology survey team at the University of Michigan's Office for Educational Research and Resources and to starting Bob Groves' new masters programme in Applied Social Research on a part-time basis. I started with the second cohort of the programme in 1984.
Graduating from this Survey Methods masters program opened the door to many jobs. My path led to the Center for Survey Methods Research at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and then to the UK British Household Panel Survey at the University of Essex and later to the Survey Methods Centre at the UK National Centre for Social Research (an independent research organisation very similar to NORC or Westat in the US). But I had been tempted by Gallop and RTI along the way.
There are many differences between US and UK language and culture, but there was a delightful core of sameness within survey research. In the UK I also had the opportunity to do a PhD through the statistics department at the London School of Economics on a survey methods topic and the opportunity to teach survey research methods, which has been a passion ever since.
In 1997, I became self-employed, consulting with universities, businesses, and UK local government, and teaching all aspects of survey research methods. Survey research continues to bring me interesting clients and students and an opportunity to visit interesting places, teaching annually in Switzerland, the University of Hong Kong, the University of Essex, the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina. But I would say my most interesting experience was working with a team to assist statistical staff in Bosnia and Herzegovina to build up their survey capability after the war.