- Published on Jun 30, 2008
- Contact Diane Swanbrow
On Monday (June 30), the project Web site, www.ourvalues.org, will provide visitors with a chance to weigh in on a changing array of hot-button issues from polygamy to patriotism to same-sex marriage.
Public comments and responses to "flash poll" questions on the site will inform the content of a major survey on Americans' Evolving Values, to be fielded by the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).
"I am very enthusiastic about this website," said Wayne Baker, a professor at the U-M Ross School of Business and a faculty associate at ISR. "Not only will it help to define the content of the coming survey, it represents a new, 'open source' approach to research that is based on 'the wisdom of crowds' rather than only the insights of a small group of academics."
Baker, a sociologist, is developing the content and leading the discussions on the new website, which offers site visitors a chance to comment on the topic of the day, or on other issues on their minds. For the coming, nationally representative survey on Americans' Evolving Values, Baker is collaborating with social psychologist James S. Jackson, who directs the ISR.
"We live in a time when there is more debate than ever about what being an American means," Jackson said. "As we move forward, it is vital to understand the underlying values and principles that Americans of all ages and backgrounds share. An important goal of this larger project is to clarify how basic values are linked with political, economic, and religious behavior."
Baker has developed the OurValues Web site in collaboration with David Crumm, founding editor of ReadtheSpirit.com and former religion writer with the Detroit Free Press.
"The recent controversies about the spiritual advisors to both presidential candidates have receded, but religious and moral values remain an important dimension underlying many contemporary political issues," Crumm said. "Dr. Baker's project is a new way for concerned Americans to let leaders know what they value, and why."
Established in 1948, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) is among the world's oldest academic survey research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodology. ISR conducts some of the most widely-cited studies in the nation, including the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the Institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world's largest computerized social science data archive. Visit the ISR web site at www.isr.umich.edu for more information.