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Survey Research Lab has a new home

May 8, 2019

An important research laboratory has a new home on the NIU campus.

The Health and Human Sciences Survey Research Laboratory recently moved from the Monat Building on N. Third Street to McMurray Hall.

“I am glad to have the lab on campus because I think this is where we have always belonged,” Bill Leighly, Health and Human Sciences Survey Research Lab operations manager, said. “Being centrally-located makes it more accessible to student employees who might have transportation difficulties making the trek to an off-campus location.”

The Health and Human Sciences Survey Research Laboratory is a team of 50 to 75 surveyors who contact potential survey participants by phone and ask general questions about an individual’s health-related risk factors. Since 1984, the lab has been providing data for the Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and related surveys.

“The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System serves as a system by which each state’s health department gathers confidential, unbiased data on health trends, behaviors and risk factors in the general population in order to adjust funding and resource allocation accordingly,” Leighly said. “It is critical in the sense that it provides an accurate snapshot of health-related behaviors in the population as a whole through survey research methodology.”

Results from those surveys have been factored into legislation and health-care resource decisions, such as Illinois’ indoor smoking ban, lower cost mammograms and more affordable prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.

“The work we do is important because we are providing the raw data that goes towards making the large-scale public health policy decisions and legislative initiatives,” Leighly said.  “We are responsible for making sure the data collected is unbiased, accurate, confidential, and in strict accordance with survey research methodology and thus scientifically accurate.”

Along with being an important resource for the state, the lab is an important resource for Huskies and community members in need of employment.

“We have many interviewer positions to fill, especially for the summer months and into the fall,” Leighly said.  “We needs lots of good, reliable employees – both NIU students and members of the community – to help us reach our goals. It’s just a real positive work environment that you can feel good about at the end of the day.”

Visit the Health and Human Sciences Survey Research Laboratory to learn more.