GAMAAN, the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran, is an independent, non-profit research foundation registered in the Netherlands. We study Iranians’ attitudes towards different social and political topics.
The rationale for GAMAAN’s innovative approach, spreading surveys on a large variety of digital channels and collaborating with VPN-platforms, is the fact that conventional survey modes like face-to-face and telephone interviewing cannot yield valid results in the existing Iranian context. The fear-of-the-state bias affects Iranian respondents, and so our primary mission is to overcome self-censorship or “preference falsification.” We believe that evidence matters and offer results that consider scientific standards and the Iranian context. We do not assume that the same survey modes and methods used in free societies produce valid results in authoritarian contexts, but examine similarities and differences by engaging with the state-of-the-art in scientific analyses of survey methodologies in general and Iran in particular.
We present our work at international academic conferences, write journal articles, and collaborate with researchers based in survey institutes, universities, and think tanks. In 2023, we are collaborating with the VPN platforms Psiphon and Lantern and are assessing the extent to which VPN-platform sampling in Iran can approximate probability surveying. This question became more pressing since the regime filtered commonly used apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram, while on the other hand Internet penetration grew to a percentage similar to Western countries.
To obtain representative samples, we use matching and weighting methods; we then compare our results with external data and other survey institutes’ results for non-sensitive questions such as about employment, household income levels, languages spoken at home, and health insurance types. In this way, we strive to understand the extent to which our results can be said to be representative. GAMAAN’s survey reports present and discuss the target population and sample demographics, weighted results, and comparisons with external data and other survey institutes’ results.