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Chapman Survey of American Fears, Wave 4 (2017)




Bader, C., Day, L. E., & Gordon, A. (2020, March 4). Chapman Survey of American Fears, Wave 4 (2017).


Chapman University engaged SSRS to conduct the 2017 wave of The Chapman University Survey on American Fears (CSAF). Chapman University initiated this nationwide poll on what strikes fear in Americans in 2014. The primary objective of this survey is to collect annual data on the fears, worries and concerns of Americans, the personal, behavioral and attitudinal characteristics related to those fears, and how those fears are associated with other attitudes and behaviors. CSAF was conducted online via the SSRS Probability Panel and invited adults age 18 and older to participate via the web. It included 1,207 participants and data collection was conducted from June 28 to July 7, 2017.

The ARDA has added six additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 1207
Variables: 242
Weight Variable: WEIGHT

This study, using sample selected from the SSRS Probability Panel, was weighted to provide nationally representative and projectable estimates of the adult population 18 years of age and older. The weighting process takes into account the recruitment of panelists through the SSRS Omnibus, thus the disproportionate probabilities of household and respondent selection due to the number of separate telephone landlines and cellphones answered by Omnibus respondents and their households, as well as the probability associated with the random selection of an individual household member. In addition, a propensity score for joining the SSRS Probability Panel is applied for all respondents of SSRS Omnibus and used as a base-weight for those panelists that complete the survey. Following application of the above weights, the sample was post-stratified and balanced by key demographics such as age, race, sex, region, and education. The sample was also weighted to reflect the distribution of phone usage in the general population, meaning the proportion of those who are cell phone only, landline only, and mixed users.

Data Collection

June 28 to July 7, 2017

Original Survey (Instrument)

The Chapman University Survey on American Fears

Funded By

The Earl Babbie Research Center at Chapman University and the John Templeton Foundation

Collection Procedures

All sample members drawn for the CSAF were adult, English-language panelists. Sample drawn for the CSAF was stratified by education due to greater non-response by panelists with lower education.

Surveys conducted using the SSRS Probability Panel are self-administered web surveys. In appreciation for their participation, panelists receive a modest incentive for participation (in the form of an electronic Amazon gift card or cash sent via postal mail according to respondent preference). Depending on the field period, reminder emails are sent to panelists who do not complete the survey after being sent the initial invitation.

A "soft launch" inviting a limited number of panelists to participate was conducted on June 28. After checking soft launch data to ensure that all questionnaire content and skip patterns were correct. Additional sample was released to ensure the final sample was representative.

The median length of the CSAF survey was 24 minutes.

Panelists were emailed an invitation to complete the CSAF survey online. The email for each respondent included a unique passcode-embedded link. In appreciation for their participation, panelists received a $7 incentive (in the form of an electronic Amazon gift card or a cash sent via postal mail depending upon respondent preference). Panelists not responding to their first invitation received a reminder email three days after the initial invitation. Two additional rounds of reminders were then sent every two days to those who had not yet completed the survey. A total of three reminders were sent to all non-responders, as well as to any panelists who started, but did not complete, the survey.

As a standard of practice for Probability Panel surveys, several quality checks were incorporated into the survey. For CSAF, these included asking respondents to select a specific response when viewing a list of items, as well as re-asking the same factual type question later in the survey. Respondents who failed the quality checks employed were not included in the final data set.

As standard practice on web surveys, respondents were allowed to skip any question they did not wish to answer; however, high rates of non-response can be correlated with poor data quality. Notably, 77 percent of respondents answered 100 percent of all survey questions, with no one completing less than 89 percent of the entire questionnaire.

Sampling Procedures

SSRS is a full-service survey and market research firm managed by a core of dedicated professionals with advanced degrees in the social sciences. SSRS was established in 2008, and grew out of ICR, a survey research firm founded in 1987. SSRS has a staff of more than 90 full time employees including programmers, coders, project managers, and operational directors and more than 300 telephone interviewers in multiple sites across the nation.

SSRS designs and implements research solutions to complex strategic, tactical, public opinion, and policy issues in the U.S. and in more than 40 countries worldwide. The SSRS team specializes in creative problem-solving and informed analysis to meet its clients' research goals. SSRS provides the complete set of analytical, administrative and management capabilities needed for successful project execution. We partner with clients interested in conducting high-quality research. In the industry, SSRS is renowned for its sophisticated sample designs and its experience with all facets of data collection, including those involving multimodal formats. SSRS also has extensive statistical and analytical capabilities for extracting important insights from the survey data and suggesting strategies based on those insights.

This survey was conducted using the SSRS Probability Panel. SSRS Panel members are recruited randomly from a dual-frame random digit dial (RDD) sample, through the SSRS Omnibus Survey. The SSRS Omnibus survey is a national (50-state), bilingual telephone survey designed to meet standards of quality associated with custom research studies. The SSRS Omnibus runs six waves each month. Each wave consists of 1,000 interviews, of which 600 are obtained with respondents on their cell phones, and approximately 35 interviews completed in Spanish.

This recruiting design relies on an existing, high-quality survey platform resulting in an affordable probabilistically-sourced panel. Respondents of the SSRS Omnibus represent the full U.S. adult population (English and Spanish speaking). From this base, SSRS screens for Internet access and then recruits those who have access to be part of the SSRS Probability Panel.

From each SSRS Omnibus wave of about 1,000 respondents, approximately 85% are identified as having Internet access and are invited to participate in the Panel. Of these, approximately 45% agree to participate and provide their email address. These numbers vary slightly from wave to wave. Non-internet sample can be interviewed via telephone, if requested.

SSRS panelists are asked to complete one to two surveys per month.

Principal Investigators

The CSAF, Wave 4 was collected with the help of a multi-disciplinary team of faculty and students. The three Principal Investigators are:

Dr. Christopher Bader, Professor of Sociology, Chapman University
Dr. L. Edward Day, Associate Professor of Sociology, Chapman University
Dr. Ann Gordon, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chapman University

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