What are the American National Election Studies?

For over 65 years the American National Election Studies have been asking people about their opinions on many aspects of their lives and the people around them, especially about presidential elections.

Every textbook on American government uses information from this study, as have thousands of researchers and teachers around the world.

Who is sponsoring the study?

The study is being done for Stanford University in collaboration with the University of Michigan, with funding from the National Science Foundation. We are not affiliated with any political or media group.

Why are you asking me to do this?

You were scientifically selected, either from among all the addresses in the country that receive mail or from participants in a previous scientific study for ANES. That makes you unique; we cannot replace you with anyone else in the study.

What is the purpose of the study? Are you selling anything?

We are not selling anything. The purpose of the study is academic research funded by the National Science Foundation to discover what the American people think.

The only way to know how people really feel about American life today is to hear from people in their own words. This study is part of a long-running effort to learn what Americans think and feel about their society, politics, and many of the issues facing the country. By taking part, you help provide an accurate picture of what Americans think.

What if I don’t have a computer or Internet access at home?

If you don’t have Internet access at home on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can use a computer with an Internet connection anywhere else to take the survey. Most public libraries will provide free Internet access. Call us toll-free at 1-855-597-0067 and we’ll help you.

How long will this take?

The study should take around an hour. You can answer the questions whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you.

How will this research be used?

We combine your answers with those from other households and then we add up the results to get a picture of the whole country. We will publish those results on our website, along with a data file that researchers can use to analyze the results. Researchers and journalists from across the country will use the results to write articles and books. Teachers and students in high school and college will use the results in classes, and policy makers will see what Americans think. Your participation is essential to make sure your voice is included.

Is the information confidential?

Yes. It is very important to us to protect your privacy. We have interviewed more than 50,000 people over the last 65 years and have never revealed anyone's personal information.

Your answers will be combined with answers from other people to make group statistics. All information that you or anyone in your household provides will be kept in strict confidence. You or your household will never be identified in any analysis, reports, or publications based on your responses, and no one outside of a small number of researchers working on the study will ever be able to know your household participated.

Are there any risks from participation?

This is a “minimal risk” study, meaning any risk to you is no greater than everyday life. Your participation will help researchers and students understand public opinion and political behavior. Other than the money we give you, we cannot guarantee that you will receive any individual benefit from your participation, but many people do find the interview interesting.

What if I have questions about my rights as a research participant?

If you are not satisfied with how this study is being conducted, or if you have any concerns, complaints, or general questions about the research or your rights as a participant, please contact the Stanford Institutional Review Board (IRB) to speak to someone independent of the research team at 650-723-2480 or email at IRB2-Manager@lists.stanford.edu. You can also write to the Stanford IRB, Stanford University, 1705 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

What is Westat?

Westat is a nationally known survey research firm based in Rockville, Maryland, that has completed hundreds of important research studies. Westat was carefully selected and is conducting this study on behalf of Stanford University and the University of Michigan. Visit their website to learn more: www.westat.com

What if I need help?

If you need help or have other questions you are welcome to call (toll free) 855-597-0067 or email anes2020help@stanford.edu. We’re always happy to help and to answer questions.