Protecting our Profession! “Public Opinion” and its Professional Organizations …WAPOR

By Samir Abu Rumman, PhD

 Professional organizations protect their respective fields and industries by advocating for their principles and values, advancing their field, and engaging the public. These organizations recognize outstanding contributions to the field by presenting awards and developing ethical standards and tools for understanding public opinion and behaviour, as well as providing codes of conduct for conducting survey research and other types of research. A prominent organization in this field is the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) which was established in 1947 during the Second International Conference on Public Opinion Research. It became the only non-governmental advisor to UNESCO in the field of survey research.

Tim Johnson from the University of Chicago previously served as the president of the organization, and Robert Chung from the University of Hong Kong currently holds the position of president. I consider their joint message, which I had the privilege to translate, as one of the finest messages in the exchange of responsibilities between presidents.

WAPOR publishes the International Journal of Public Opinion Research (IJPOR) and holds an annual conference in various regions of the world, especially in Europe and the Americas. It has been held twice in the Arab region, with the first one taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, in 2018.

During that time, the establishment of WAPOR’s West Asia and North Africa (WANA) regional chapter was announced, and Samir Abu Rumman (the author) was elected as its president. According to the organization’s bylaws, it is now time to select a new president and new leadership in our Arab region to achieve WANA’s goals in developing the field of public opinion research and organizing the necessary activities and events, as well as increasing the branch’s membership from various specialties.

The annual conference, which will be held in Austria in September, provides an opportunity for members of the organization and its regional branches to meet academic researchers, businessmen, government officials, interested parties, and professionals from major opinion research centers worldwide.

The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the European Society for Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR), and, are allies of WAPOR and participate in some activities and reports.

For over 70 years, the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) has strengthened professional and ethical standards and techniques in the field of public opinion surveys worldwide. Its international membership includes distinguished names in the field of polling and public opinion research.

Through publications, seminars, meetings, educational initiatives, and recently online training and education, the organization engages in ongoing and fruitful discussions about best practices in data collection and maintaining data quality, even in countries with limited freedom.

From the Arab context, many Arab experts, practitioners, and academics have participated in the organization, and several of the organization’s publications have been translated into Arabic, and I had the honour of being a member of the Freedom to Publish Public Opinion Research Committee worldwide. Additionally, the Code of Ethics for Survey Research was translated and published in Arabic for the first time in the organization’s history.

According to Richard Morin, the former director of the polling unit at The Washington Post, WAPOR is considered “the leading professional association of public opinion pollsters working outside the United States.”

WAPOR is also credited by Herbert Weisberg, a political scientist at Ohio State University and former president of the Midwest Political Science Association, for its contribution to the development of survey methodology and giving public opinion research a professional character, acting as a watchdog to protect our important field.

Original article published in Alanba, the Kuwaiti daily newspaper in Arabic with its English translation first edited and published by

Samir Abu-Rumman, PhD, is a visiting research scholar at Princeton University, USA, with extensive years of experience in research, education, and development in different countries. He is the supervisor of “World of Opinions” in Kuwait, Jordan, and the U.S., has led and supervised different regional and global research projects for organizations such as the World Values Survey and Arab Barometer for Princeton University.

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