A Brief History of SIG-SRE

In the mid-1970s, Jack Anderson and Doug Berdie, then professors at the University of Minnesota, noticed an increasing number of survey research studies in the world of academe and an equally increasing number of survey research-related presentations at the AERA annual meetings. Most such projects and presentations, however, dealt with the findings of the survey studies; very few, if any, dealt with issues of survey methodology. In an effort to provide a forum in which survey research methodological issues could be presented, studied, and discussed, they formed the AERA Survey Research in Education SIG. The SIG was technically formed in 1976. The first paper presentation sponsored by the SIG was given in 1978 by Jack Anderson and Doug Berdie. The title of the presentation was: Survey Research: Where Do We Go from Here?

As with the formation of most AERA SIGs, the startup efforts were burdensome and fell, primarily, to the two of them--Anderson and Berdie. For the first several years, these two "pioneers" held and juggled all of the SIG offices and attending responsibilities between them.

Another problem they faced in the beginning days of the SIG was that of having enough presentations (e.g., papers, posters, etc.) to fill their allotted number of sessions. The two remember designing symposia or panel sessions and then themselves providing the papers or programs for want of other presenters. In order to drum up interest in the SIG, and, thus, increase membership and participation, they developed and delivered AERA pre- and post-conference workshops and mini-courses on the topic of survey research methodology; during these sessions they advised attendees of the SIG and the many membership benefits.

The SIG membership gradually grew, and new members became interested in providing the energy and time necessary to see it thrive. In the early 1980s there were enough individuals willing to be active members that no one individual had to hold more than one office. In addition, a SIG newsletter editor position was created to meet the need for a formal method of communication among the SIG members.

The growth of the SIG and changes within it across time have been exciting and challenging to its many members. A review of the SIG offices and individuals serving in those roles since its inception will provide readers with an idea of the commitment to and affection for the SIG felt by its members.

Those Who Carried the SIG SRE Torch.pdf