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Teresa Edwards Featured in Women in Science Wednesday


Women in Science Wednesday is a weekly series featured in Endeavors, the online magazine published by UNC Research.

Last week our very own Teresa Edwards, assistant director of survey research, was included for her pioneering role in the field of survey methodology and research. 

Big Data Needs Little Data

When asked to describe her research in five words, this was Edwards’ response:

“Big data needs little data. Big data is the rage nowadays. Researchers use “found data” from social media, administrative records, internet searches, purchase records—all sorts of data that were not generated for the purpose of research, but are being used to address research questions.

This is great—another tool for solving puzzles. But found data can typically only tell us what people do. To find out why people do what they do, we need surveys or other smaller scale but more in-depth ways of understanding human behavior.”

You can read the full story on the Endeavors website. 

More background on Teresa:

Teresa Edwards is the Odum Institute’s resident survey expert. She provides survey design consultation to UNC faculty and students, and also collaborates with and/or manages projects conducted by the Institute.

Edwards has also been instrumental in the development and organization of the Odum Institute’s Certificate Program in Survey Methodology (CPSM). She teaches the program’s Practicum in Survey Data Collection, as well as several CPSM short courses, including Designing Self-Administered Questionnaires and Introduction to Cognitive Interviewing, which are open to the public.  

Edwards oversees the Institute’s web survey services and was the person who brought Qualtrics, the powerful online survey tool, to UNC in 2006. Odum remains the home for Qualtrics at Carolina and the only provider of user support on campus. Read our blog post for more information on the last eleven years of Qualtrics on campus.  

Before joining the Odum Institute in 2003, Edwards was a survey methodologist at RTI International for 14 years, where she specialized in the design and implementation of computer-assisted interviewing systems.

She holds an M.A. in Applied Social Research from the University of Michigan. 


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