The Center for Studies on Public Opinion—better known by its Portuguese acronym CESOP—is a center for interdisciplinary research established at the State University of Campinas in 1992. Its central objective is the development of scientific research in the field of political and social behavior; in this sense, the CESOP seeks to consolidate a structure for organization, consultation, and dissemination of survey data, as well as to promote combined initiatives in teaching, research, and human resources training in this area.
To achieve these goals, CESOP is committed to the following activities: 1) the development of research in the areas of electoral behavior and political representation, public opinion, and public policies and of studies on democracy and political culture; 2) the production of research resources through the Sampling Research Database, which collects, organizes and provides public access to opinion data on politics, society, culture, and general social behavior; 3) the development of scientific reflection in related areas, through the Public Opinion Journal, a scientific journal of international reach classified as Qualis-CAPES A1 in the area of Political Science; and 4) the qualification of human resources in the associated research areas, through extension courses, training and support to undergraduate and (post-)graduate activities of the University, focused on methodology and quantitative data analysis in social sciences.
The CESOP is the result of a joint interdisciplinary initiative between the academic-scientific and business worlds in the area of public opinion research, meeting a concrete demand from the national and foreign academic environment for a center specialized in research, teaching, and data organization in the field of social and political studies.
Its objectives and its organizational structure are pioneering and singular in the Brazilian academic field. Established in a public university of international recognition, the Center is structured on a three-way, inter-university and business composition (members of Unicamp, members of universities and scientific centers around the country, and members of research companies), which enables the recovery, organization and access to surveys conducted by companies and scientific institutions in the areas of opinion on politics, society, cultural themes and general behavior. Its structure also ensures that its activities count on the vast knowledge and involvement of various academic institutions in this area, enhancing efforts to deepen knowledge of Brazilian society.
The impetus that led to the creation of the Center began in the late 1980s, when the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (IBOPE) donated the Edgard Leuenroth Archive - the social documentation center of the Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences of Unicamp - its historical collection of research reports constituted since the founding of the company in 1942, in the areas of political, radio, and television audience opinion polls and social behavior, and market research. This Collection of historical reports is unique in the country and in Latin America for its coverage and themes.
Based on this catalyst in the area of opinion studies, in 1991 Unicamp signed an agreement with the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, based at the University of Connecticut (USA), for the creation of a network for the exchange of public opinion data between Latin America and the US, the Latin American Survey Data Bank Project, thus ensuing the final conditions for the founding of the Center, which formally occurred in October 1992.
In 1993, at the beginning of the CESOP’s activities, UNICAMP signed an agreement with the ICPSR-Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research of the University of Michigan, granting researchers access to the archives of the international scientific research submitted, as well as the participation of researchers in courses about methodology and analysis of social and political research given by the University of Michigan.
The University of Michigan is the headquarters of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, of which CESOP is the representative in Brazil through the application of several waves of research on political behavior in each presidential election - The BES project - Brazilian Electoral Study. Since 2009, the CESOP has been a member of the International Planning Committee for said comparative project.
The CESOP is part of the Administration of the CNPq Research Group and develops its objectives through permanent projects and thematic projects associated with certain research areas.