The Centre of Sociological Research (Polish abbreviation ORBS) was established in 1992 as a result of the fusion of a former Department of Field Research in IFiS, and the Department of Methodology of Sociological Research at Łódź. The Department of Field Research pioneered the first nation-wide survey network of interviewers (1971). The Department of Methodology of Sociological Research specialised in methodological problems of research practice. The establishment of the ORBS aimed at development of closer links between methodological studies and empirical work. Departing from this premise, the ORBS offers an advisory service in the field of preparation, implementation, assessment of data validity and their analysis in qualitative and quantitative types of research. The Centre tests research tools and carries out research at the fieldwork stage. ORBS possesses the national network of interviewers, whose fieldwork is monitored by the national network of controllers fully independent of the network of interviewers. However, ORBS does not prepare the research reports. The second direction of the Centre’s activities concentrates on methodological research and popularising broadly understood methodological knowledge. Methodological studies focus on the following issues: assessment of research process and the value of collected material, the influence of questions’ wording on the obtained research results (particular attention is paid to the scales used), the influence of interviewers on research results and value of data obtained through mail survey, computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) and computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI). The results of CSR’s methodological studies and research experiences are popularised in publications. The employees of the Centre are the authors of two text books for interviewers as well as co-founders and co-editors of the annual periodical Ask. Społeczeństwo, Badania, Metody (Ask. Society: Research, Methods), devoted to methodological issues.
The ORBS offers services for other research institutions on advice, training, methodological supervision of research and research audit. In 2001/2002 and 2001/2002 ORBS ran a nation-wide methodological seminar, “Nowe metody, nowe podejścia badawcze w naukach społecznych” (New Methods and New Approaches in the Social Sciences), which became a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences between academic sociology and market and opinion poll researchers. Since 2002 the employees of ORBS are responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Polish edition of research project “European Social Survey”. The national co-ordinator of the research project is Paweł Sztabiński.Address: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology PAN,
00-330 Warsaw, Nowy Świat 72, Room 106/108A
tel./fax (48 22) 826-96-17, (48 22) 857-27-99