Benjamin Phillips

Benjamin Phillips
  • Title: Senior Research Director
  • Company: The Social Research Centre


Dr Benjamin Phillips is Senior Research Director, Survey Methodology at the Social Research Centre and Centre Visitor at the Centre for Social Research & Methods at the ANU.

His major tasks at the SRC include the ongoing methodological development of Life in Australia™, Australia’s only probability-based online panel and methods for the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching suite of surveys of the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Prior to joining the Social Research Centre in 2018, he worked in the U.S. as Senior Associate/Scientist in the Data Science, Surveys, and Enabling Technologies division of Abt Associates (2017), Vice President in the Social Policy and Polling group of Abt SRBI (2010-17) and Associate Research Scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University (2003-10).

He holds a BA (Hons.) with first class honours jointly in Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture and Government and Public Administration from the University of Sydney (1999) and an MA (2002) and PhD (2008, Glatzer Endowed Prize) jointly in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Sociology from Brandeis University.

He also serves on the Standard Definitions Committee of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.


We gaze into our crystal ball to look at the future of high-quality general population surveys through to 2030 based on contemporary developments and long-term trends, talk about where they would be fit-for-purpose and what can be done to build a bridge to the future.

We look to the future regarding fitness-for-purpose with respect to survey error, cost of data collection, timeliness of reporting and response rates for:

  • Nonprobability online panels
  • Face-to-face interviewing
  • Address-based sampling and push-to-web
  • Probability-based online panels
  • Data linkage
  • Smartphone apps and other passive data collection

We also recommend steps to plan for the inevitable transitions that lie ahead:

  • Steps while still using existing methods such as rotating response options
  • Testing new methods to fill in key information ahead of possible transitions, including contact rates, costs and effects on estimates and to test alternatives, such as the content and look-and-feel of paper communications for push-to-web designs
  • Fielding surveys in parallel across new and old methods to obtain true estimates of the effect of the break on the time-series and possible back-casting to estimate the existing time-series under the new design


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