“Studying Public Opinion in the Contemporary Middle East: Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices”
June 12-17, 2022 – Amman, Jordan
APSA MENA held its second workshop of the year in Amman in partnership with Al Mustakilla (IIACSS), NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, and the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) at the University of Jordan. The 1-week program on public opinion survey brought together 18 fellows and four co-leaders to discuss the growing areas of MENA public opinion research on various issues, from gender to conflict to religion to democracy. Karl Kaltenthaler (University of Akron, USA), Mujtaba Isani (King Fahd University, Saudi Arabia), Yuree Noh (Middle East Initiative, Harvard, USA), and Daniel Silverman (Carnegie Mellon University, USA) led the workshop delving into the growing body of research that use surveys, experiments, and focus groups to better understand what populations think and want in the region. Co-leaders and fellows shared methodological best practices and techniques designed to meet the increasing challenges facing researchers on the ground. A key component of the program included research panel sessions where participants presented their work examining public opinion in MENA and received feedback from peer discussants and leaders. Participants also had the opportunity to meet with co-leaders individually for additional feedback throughout the week.
The program featured keynote speakers from local survey research organizations to draw on regional expertise in the field. Dr. Fares Braizat, head of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, a leading research, polling and consultancy firm based in Amman, delivered a talk on the relevance of surveys to public policy and the role of survey research in providing public policy solutions. Dr. Munqith Dagher, the founder of IIACSS, a company specializing in conducting public opinion polls and population-based surveys in Iraq, spoke to the group about his twenty-year experience conducting survey work in conflict zones and quality control under challenging environments.
“Since methods training in grad school focuses primarily on technical content, this workshop was much-needed for demystifying data collection in a region that presents continuing challenges for scholars. The coleaders did an excellent job in moderating the discussions and in giving feedback to the fellows. The personal stories shared of experiences with data collection were particularly insightful and engaging. The workshop was an intellectually stimulating and rewarding experience and helped me learn strategies such as recruiting and running a local team, handling problems with enumerators, and designing creative ways of improving the quality of the data.” – 2022 Workshop Attendee
On another day, workshop sessions were held on campus at the University of Jordan in partnership with the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS), an academic think tank that focuses on conducting studies and research in the field of regional conflicts, international relations and security. A panel featured CSS Director Professor Zaid Eyadat and Dr. Walid Alkhatib, head of the public opinion polls and survey department at the Center, who spoke about the importance of conducting public opinion research in the region and the myriad of challenges it comes with. They also discussed the key role of CSS’s work in exploring the views of citizens and opinion leaders in MENA and the impact its surveys and polls have on government policy formulation in Jordan.
Following their participation in the workshop, fellows received complimentary membership to APSA, and a select group was invited to present their research at the 2022 APSA Annual Meeting in Montreal.
- Karl Kaltenthaler, University of Akron, USA
- Mujtaba Isani, King Fahd University, Saudi Arabia
- Yuree Noh, Rhode Island College, USA
- Daniel Silverman, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
- Aisha Al-Sarihi, National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, Singapore
- Fatimah Saadi, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain
- Giulia Macario, Jordan
- Ikram Laimeche, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar
- Sarah Hebbouch, Mohammed V University, Morocco
- Caglayan Baser, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD)
- Sara Elizabeth Katona, American University of Iraq- Baghdad (AUIB), Iraq
- Ferial Menaifi, Salah Boubnider University Constantine 03, Algeria
- Narmin Butt, University of California, San Diego
- Mohammed Hasan Darkhalil, Yeditepe University, Turkey
- Hassan Al-Said, University of Cologne, Germany
- Rand Munqith Mohammed Dagher, University of Potsdam, Germany
- Samar Abdelmageed, British University in Egypt
- Ameni Mehrez, Central European University, Austria
- Hood Ahmed, University of Michigan, USA
- Raed Ahmed, Al-Iraqia University, Iraq
- Dheaya Alrousan, The Hashemite University, Jordan
- Mustafa Karahamad – Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany
“Arabic-language Research Development Workshop”
May 18-21, 2022 – Doha, Qatar”
Fourteen fellows from countries across the Arab MENA region were selected to participate in APSA’s MENA first Arabic-language workshop in partnership with the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Qatar. The 4-day program was led by Bassel Salloukh (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies), May Darwich (University of Birmingham, UK), and Ammar Shamaileh (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies) and focused on providing opportunities for participants to discuss and advance their research. Prior to the start of the workshop, fellows submitted their research proposals to allow time for facilitators and participants to read their submissions in advance.
After presenting their research projects on the first day, they received individual feedback from co-leaders and their fellow participants. They spent the following two days incorporating the feedback they received into their proposals while participating in small group discussions relevant to their projects. These opportunities for engaged feedback and active writing were enriched by one-on-one meetings with co-leaders to receive additional guidance.
Having the opportunity to discuss my research and receive thorough feedback from both co-leaders and my fellow peers in a small group setting, and to do it with other Arabic-speaking researchers and scholars, was an invaluable experience.” – Workshop Fellow
On the last day of the workshop, fellows presented their revised research proposals and received one last round of feedback from the group. Other workshop sessions included lectures and presentations by co-leaders on literature review, how to develop a strong research question, and research design and methods. The program also hosted guest speakers from the Doha Institute on research ethics and other professional development topics (see the schedule.pdf for more information).
After the conclusion of the program, fellows received a one-year complimentary membership to APSA and are eligible to apply for small grants to support their further research.
- Bassel F. Salloukh, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar
- May Darwich, University of Birmingham, UK
- Ammar Shamaileh, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar
- Maha Bouhlel, Manouba University, Tunisia
- Ahmed Hamdon, Cairo University, Egypt
- Rowida Farh, University of Khartoum, Sudan
- Cyrine Ghannouchi, Tunisia
- Asma Elliheouel, Tunis University, Tunisia
- Duha Dkeidek, Birzeit University, Palestine
- Karima Bekai, University of Mostaganem Central, Algeria
- Dina Hassan, Cairo University, Egypt
- Mahmood Alhosain, Harmoon Center for Contemporary Studies, Qatar
- Raed Ahmed, Al-Iraqia University, Iraq
- Nora Gueliane, University of Mouloud Mammeri in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria
- Ahmed Nasser, Aden University, Yemen
- Mostafa Mahmoud Abdullah, Egypt