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Using the latest data science techniques, NORC creates, collects, and applies primary and secondary data.

Data experts at NORC address many of the world’s most pressing issues. We develop and incorporate robust techniques to collect, organize, manage, and transform data. Increasingly, we employ secondary data acquisition tools in our research. The highly reliable data NORC produces enables policymakers and business leaders to make better, more informed decisions. With secure environments for data, we use multiple platforms and techniques to maximize data quality. Our approach ensures that large databases with many different formats and measurements correspond with each other to create unified, accurate information. We can create detailed measurements that are unavailable with traditional survey methods. We partner with local data collection firms to collect data worldwide.

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Get to Know Our Experts

Explore the community of NORC staff working in data collection and management.

Highlighted Projects

2019 Census of Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies (CTLEA)

Gathering data to inform tribal law enforcement policies and resource allocation


Bureau of Justice Statistics

2020 AERA-Spencer COVID-19 Impact Survey

Examining how the pandemic influenced the experiences of early-career doctorates and doctoral students


American Educational Research Association; Spencer Foundation

Our Areas of Expertise

Qualitative Research Design

NORC’s expertise in qualitative methods includes cognitive interviews, case studies, focus groups, site visits, and expert panels. This research has been employed in studies of a wide range of topics, such as the impact of the Affordable Care Act on state and local public health departments, teen dating violence in urban communities, and the work environments for faculty at major universities.

Survey Data Collection

Using the web, mobile devices, telephone, mail, and in-person interviews, we achieve the best possible data quality in our research. By surveying a wide variety of populations and subpopulations using many communication approaches, we can assemble the most representative survey samples. We use this methodology in a variety of studies, including tracking changes in public stigma toward opioid misuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing the impact of cyberstalking, and identifying factors involved in police officer-involved shootings.


NORC designs monitoring options across government and business sectors to inform policy decisions. Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we administer the National Immunization Surveys that document immunization rates. Other NORC projects include surveying the effects of television advertising on e-cigarette use and evaluating programs addressing obesity.

Secondary Data Acquisition

In our quest to reach the most accurate and insightful findings, we increasingly use secondary data sources, such as social media networks, web scraping, medical records, administrative data, and academic transcripts. This expertise has been employed in studies that include investigating why some people survive to advanced old age, estimating hearing loss in the United States and identifying ways to reduce it, and examining trends in state-based and national health insurance marketplaces.

Data Harmonization & Transformation

Working with policymakers, private and nonprofit organizations, as well as public agencies, we use advanced techniques to take data from disparate sources to aid research. NORC has been key in the development of a unified database that documents police use of force from 18,000 local law enforcement agencies in the United States, and is building data harmonization and dissemination tools for 25 of the largest cities in the U.S.

Data Confidentiality & Deidentification

From medical records to business data, NORC meticulously safeguards respondents’ information during data collection. This also ensures that the resulting statistics protect each person’s identity. NORC has developed its own cell suppression algorithms and uses other available software to limit the risk of disclosure. Our experienced staff creates releasable files that maximize utility while minimizing the risk of disclosing individual respondents’ information.

Environmental Data, Sensors & Biomeasures

NORC uses a variety of innovative technologies to study health, aging, and other well-being issues. Our capacity to use environmental samples, sensor technology, and biomeasures has enhanced research in subject areas such as lifespan longevity, the impact of the environment on children, education’s role in battling Alzheimer’s Disease, and the lasting effects of early childhood interventions like pre-school programs.

Locating & Tracing

When it comes to running longitudinal studies and managing panels, it’s essential to keep close track of respondents. This expertise has become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our trained locating and tracing specialists are proficient at investigating and navigating public and paid databases to locate respondents—especially from hard-to-reach populations in an increasingly mobile world. This expertise has been essential in follow-up surveys focused on Alzheimer’s Disease and the U.S. labor market.

Institutional Review Board

In all of our research projects, NORC maintains the highest ethical standards, operating an Institutional Review Board (IRB) that follows a formal process to ensure protections of and minimize burdens on participants. The principal investigator or project director submits a protocol to the IRB and must receive an official review determination before any project is allowed to begin. The IRB is registered with the Federal Office for Human Research Protections and complies with the strict U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations known as the Common Rule.