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Leah Christian

Pronouns: She/Her

Leah is a recognized expert in survey modes, mixed-mode methods, and questionnaire design and measurement error.

Leah is a senior vice president and director of the Methodology & Quantitative Social Sciences department. She oversees, develops, and grows NORC’s research activities and methodological capabilities in areas including survey methodology, the use of administrative and big data, quantitative social sciences, and advanced analytic methods. Leah brings over 20 years of experience in survey methodology and panel research, including work with federal, academic, commercial, and nonprofit organizations. She is an expert in data collection modes, mixed-mode survey and panel designs, and questionnaire design, passive measurement, and measurement error. Her research also focuses on evaluating big data for use in social science research, integrating survey and big data, and using survey data to correct for errors in big data. 

Leah is currently the lead methodologist for the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY) 1979 and 1997 cohorts, where she leads the design of the contact and data collection methodology, questionnaire design and testing, data quality and monitoring approach, and research and experiments on methodological innovations. She also led two projects for NORC testing a web-based data collection tool for the American Time Use, including comparing results across web and CATI, to help inform the transition of the survey to a mixed-mode web and phone survey. Leah also regularly consults or serves as a technical advisor for many NORC projects including the National Survey of Early Care and Education, the General Social Survey, the AmeriSpeak panel, and NORC’s Center for Panel Sciences.

Leah is co-author of Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. She has published 15 articles on research methodology in a variety of journals including Public Opinion Quarterly, Sociological Methods and Research, Social Science Computer Review, Journal of Official Statistics, and Field Methods. Leah has presented over 50 conference, webinar and short courses on research methodology and data science. She was a recipient of AAPOR’s Warren J. Mitofsky’s Innovators Award in 2017 for her work with a research team developing web-push data collection methodologies. Leah has also served on AAPOR’s Mitofsky Innovators Award Committee, Standards Committee, Transparency Initiative Committee, and Seymour Sudman Student Paper Award Committee, and served on the Task Force on the Future of U.S. General Population Telephone Survey Research. 

Prior to joining NORC, Leah was senior vice president of Data Science at Nielsen leading Nielsen’s panel and audience measurement strategy across TV, radio, and digital media where she led the methodology and innovations in Nielsen panels, new technologies for media measurement (e.g., wearables, mobile apps), and the transformation and integration of big data into media measurement. She started her career as a survey methodologist and researcher at the Pew Research Center where she helped shape the methodology decisions for studies across the center and ran numerous studies on politics, social and demographic trends, technology, economics, and environmental policy.



Washington State University


Washington State University


University of Georgia

Honors & Awards

Warren J. Mitofsky’s Innovators Award | 2017

American Association for Public Opinion Research

Project Contributions

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997

A new, younger cohort of the nation’s preeminent survey of labor force participation from teen years to retirement


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2024 National Survey of Early Care and Education

Examining early care and education after major disruption


Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services