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Laura R. Appelbaum, Research Analyst, BIG

Laura Applebaum

The Centers
University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 133 - P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
Phone: (303) 315 - 2495
Fax: (303) 315 - 2497

Bio: Laura R. Appelbaum, PhD, is the Senior Research Analyst at the Buechner Institute for Governance (BIG) University of Colorado Denver. She is an expert in research methodology and statistical analysis, and has more than 30 years of experience as a researcher and analyst.  She is responsible for the design, management and implementation of research projects and program evaluations.  She has directed a number of large-scale, multi-year research projects.   She has performed statistical analyses on large and complex data bases including U.S. Census data and administrative data for the Colorado State Department of Human Services.  She has designed and directed program evaluations involving extensive data collection, data management and statistical analysis.  She also has successfully completed projects using qualitative methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews, either alone or to supplement quantitative research.

Dr. Appelbaum’s substantive interests and expertise are focused on housing, education and the social and economic issues of vulnerable populations.  She played a major role in collecting and analyzing Denver metropolitan-area and statewide homeless data in 2005, 2006 and 2007.  She designed and developed the survey instruments, analyzed survey data and wrote the final report for the Statewide Point-In-Time Homeless Study, summer count 2006 and winter count 2007.  She also analyzed the data and wrote the report for the 2005 and 2006 Metro Denver Homeless Initiative’s Point-In-Time studies.

For the past five years, as part of the team managing and implementing the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Appelbaum has reviewed and verified the housing and Census data used in computing the annual Federal housing subsidy for approximately 575 Indian tribes.   She has worked with Indian tribes, providing technical assistance, responding to requests for information and data corrections, and helping tribes reconcile their housing unit counts.  She has conducted a number of site visits to verify the accuracy of housing files and Census Needs data.  She has been the lead in the evaluation analysis for all Census challenges under the IHBG program. She developed a new, consistent, comprehensive set of guidelines for challenging Census data that is extremely user - friendly and provides Tribes with concrete guidance in how to challenge Needs data.  This entailed developing a rigorous methodology for identifying and sampling tribal households and for collecting data to accurately enumerate low-income households and their household characteristics.

Dr. Appelbaum has extensive experience with and knowledge of early childhood and k-12 education and services, youth services, and broader social service programs.  She has done a great deal of research in the area of education, and has worked with a number of school districts in Colorado.  She directed surveys for school districts including Boulder Valley, Greeley-Evans, Jefferson County, St. Vrain Valley and Green Valley Ranch/Montbello.  In addition, she evaluated educational programs at both the early childhood and k-12 levels. 

In her 20 + years with the University, Dr. Appelbaum has been responsible for:

  • Directing all phases of survey research:  sampling, questionnaire design, interviewer training, data collection, statistical analysis, interpretation of research results, and report preparation
  • Designing customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and organizational morale surveys
  • Conducting public opinion research
  • Developing needs assessments
  • Conducting program evaluations to inform public policy and improve program design:  developing and implementing tracking systems, measuring performance with output and outcome indicators, and performing cost benefit analyses
  • Designing user friendly instruments and writing clear directions for consumers and interviewers
  • Managing computer analyses
  • Serving as statistical director of the Wells Fargo Public Opinion Research Center
  • Helping produce the Mind of Colorado, an annual statewide survey examining public policy issues and analyzing trends in the thinking of Colorado citizens
  • Conducting public opinion research on issues such as education, growth, parks and recreation, health policy and gun control
  • Providing technical assistance and training in research design, sampling, data collection, statistical analysis, and performance measurement
  • Designing and implementing qualitative research strategies including focus groups and interviews, and summarizing, analyzing and presenting qualitative results
  • Producing clear, concise written reports with recommendations, and presenting and explaining results
  • Training and teaching in research methodology, sampling and data analysis.


  • PhD  Mathematical Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980. Specialization in research methodology, measurement and statistics
  • MA  Mathematical Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1974
  • BA  Sociology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1970 | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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