In his new position, Tompson will have overall responsibility for managing operations of the AP-NORC Center, which combines the journalistic strength of AP with the social science research power of NORC at the University of Chicago.
Officially launched in August 2011, the AP-NORC Center carries out research projects on issues in which there is a potential for social impact, including education, health care, race, unemployment, aging and poverty. The center provides the greatest possible public awareness of the research results through the unparalleled distribution channels of AP and NORC. It is estimated that information carried by the media platforms of AP reach approximately half the world’s people each day.
In his capacity as global director of polling for AP, Tompson was central in developing the new AP-NORC Center. Its first study explored the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on attitudes about civil liberties in the U.S. A major study now under way explores the views of Americans about energy matters, including energy efficiency, consumption and conservation. The nonprofit AP-NORC Center receives funding for its studies primarily from philanthropic foundations.
Tompson joins the AP-NORC Center as it begins a period of considerable growth. Plans are under way for new research dealing with key health issues and questions that lie at the intersection of poverty and employment. The center will also convene its scientific advisory panel, led by Paul Lavrakas, vice president and president-elect of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).
After joining AP in 2004, Tompson conducted hundreds of surveys in more than a dozen countries, helping AP become a leader in public opinion polling. He is an expert in survey research methodology and has published numerous articles about public opinion and research methods. Tompson is a member of the Executive Council of the World Association for Public Opinion Research and the Standards Committee of AAPOR. He was a member of a special AAPOR task force charged with evaluating and recommending techniques for conducting sample surveys on cellphones.
Prior to his work with AP, Tompson was a research specialist with NORC and held other positions in the survey research field with several universities and research firms.