ISR tagline with bridgeWe've got big news! The ISR has a new Director, Dr. Shannon Williams. Learn more about her here.
Founded in 1989, Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research (ISR) harnesses the power of scientific research tools to address social problems. An interdisciplinary unit within the Downtown School of Public Affairs, the ISR’s 16 regular staff-members, 12 students and 35 faculty associates (from across 15 different disciplines) offer broad expertise conducting survey research, performing program/policy evaluations, and gathering/analyzing data (both quantitative and qualitative) for government agencies, non-profits, and the academic community. The hundreds of projects we have completed for government agencies, nonprofit organizations and the academic community have provided actionable information that has enhanced public accountability, program fidelity, and the overall quality of policies designed to serve the region and the state.

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    CALSPEAKS: A Unique and Ongoing Investigation of California Public Opinion

    California Speaks (CALSPEAKS) is an ongoing collection and investigation of citizens' voices in California, focusing on the distinctive economic, social, political, and environmental issues that confront our state.

    Read more about our latest survey results:


    Follow CalSPEAKS on Twitter.

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    Sacramento Civic Amenities Survey Results

    The Institute for Social Research (ISR), in partnership with Valley Vision, Inc., created a representative survey panel of the Sacramento region to conduct quarterly surveys that are intended to inform public decision-making in the region. We recently released the results of our inaugural survey, which examined public attitudes about the importance of civic, cultural and recreational amenities.

    Some key takeaways:

      • Those surveyed think Parks and Trails are the most important (54%) and Spectator Sports Venues the least important (4%) for quality of life.

      • There is a big question of whether individuals are worn out from spending on Golden 1 Center, as 3% say sports and entertainment venues are most in need of investment, versus 56% in parks and recreation.

    To read the full report, click here. To learn about our Sacramento Area Survey Panel, visit our Valley Vision page.

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    The Umoja Community Program Evaluation

    The Umoja Community is a statewide model program with the goal of increasing the retention and completion rates for African American students and other students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Currently, there are 45 Community Colleges and one California State University (CSU East Bay) participating in the Umoja Community program. The ISR will be conducting a program evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the Umoja Community within the California Community College system.
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    Project for an Informed Electorate

    The Project for an Informed Electorate’s mission is to empower citizens by fostering greater understanding of politics, policy, and government. We are dedicated to identifying, creating, and disseminating accurate, trustworthy, open, and non-partisan information. We do so by conducting academic research, organizing public events, and pursuing innovative means of achieving widespread civic knowledge. View the Project for an Informed Electorate website.   

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    Youth Tobacco Purchase Survey (YTPS)

    The Youth Tobacco Purchase Survey is a statewide data-collection effort capturing the illegal sales of tobacco to youth under the legal purchase age of 18 years old. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, youth were successful at purchasing cigarettes 60-90% of the time, and purchased approximately 1 billion packs of cigarettes each year despite laws banning the sale of tobacco to minors. The Synar Regulation requires all states to enforce youth access laws, develop plans to decrease sales of tobacco to youth and to provide documentation to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

    View the YTPS page here:



The ISR is happy to announce our official charter membership in the AAPOR Transparency Initiative, furthering ISR's commitment to an open science of survey research. The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) is the leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals in the U.S., with members from academia, media, government, the non-profit sector and private industry. For more info please head to