Experts Gather at UH to Study the Face of Public Policy Issues

March 20, 2008

Faculty, staff and the public are invited to a two-day workshop that will determine how to measure the impact of social policy issues on Houstonians.

Sponsored by the University of Houston Center for Public Policy (CPP), the panel study workshop is planned for March 21-22 at the Hilton University of Houston Hotel. The event begins at 8:30 a.m., Friday and will address the scope of a panel study and the types of questions to ask.

Panel studies survey the same sample of people over an extended period of time. Unlike other kinds of studies, panel studies usually are conducted annually and provide clinical data to reflect a more accurate picture of how public policy initiatives affect real people, as well as other important changes in the population.

“That means we will get more than just a snapshot on issues such as health care, crime, immigration and economic mobility,” said Jim Granato, CPP director. “We will be able to see how people evolve over their lifetimes, and how policies are working or not working. That information will be of great interest to decisionmakers in the public and private sectors.”

To date, this kind of study has not been attempted in Houston and is typically not done in cities or metropolitan areas because of the expense it entails. Typically, surveys measure a sample population once, with subsequent surveys going to a different sample.

“Houston is a large, diverse city—a microcosm of the rest of the world,” Granato said. “What happens here is an indication of what may happen in the rest of the country. The kind of on going study we’re talking about is tremendously important.”

The workshop is made possible with the support of Houston Endowment. For more information and to view the agenda, visit

Marisa Ramirez