Tom W. Smith is an internationally recognized expert in survey research specializing in the study of social change and survey methodology. He is Director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Society at the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago. Since 1980 he has been co-principal investigator of the National Data Program for the Social Sciences and director of its General Social Survey (GSS).
He is also co-founder and former Secretary General (1997-2003) of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP). The ISSP is the largest cross-national collaboration in the social sciences.
Smith has taught at Purdue University, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and Tel Aviv University. He was awarded the 1994 Worcester Prize by the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) for the best article on public opinion, the 2000 and 2003 Innovators Awards of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the 2002 AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement, and the Eastern Sociological Society Award for Distinguished Contributions to Sociology in 2003.