The AOI program forms part of the ACRPS's vision of studying and analysing the affairs of countries and societies in the Arab World by providing data on economic, social and political issues important to Arab citizens. It is based on a belief in all citizens' right to express their views on developments, especially political developments, in their home countries, as well as a belief that these views should be made a matter of public record so as to inform public debate. Its research agenda is Arab-centered, and is rooted in the idea that the Arab World can represent a single unit of analysis in empirical studies of public opinion. It is put together using contributions from Arab specialists and academics, who are the most familiar with the cultural and intellectual context.
The program hopes to raise the level of social and political surveying in the Arab World and consolidate a serious academic survey tradition that other Arab organisations can follow. This surveying culture is still in its infancy.
The AOI program also seeks to equip Arab researchers, policymakers, civil society organisations and other interested parties with an open database tracking public opinion in the Arab World, enhancing our knowledge of the region and combatting stereotypes and prejudices. The far-ranging data it collects can be used to conduct in-depth quantitative and qualitative investigations into social, political or ethical issues or to inform policy addressing problems and shortcomings and improving the lot of the Arab citizen. The aim of surveying citizens' opinions should always be to further citizens' interests.
The AOI program seeks to equip Arab researchers, policymakers, civil society organisations and other interested parties with an open database tracking public opinion in the Arab World, enhancing our knowledge of the region and combatting stereotypes and prejudices.
The primary aim of the AOI program is to conduct surveys measuring Arab public opinion on a range of issues of interest to researchers and policymakers or to other Arab citizens. Its goals can be summarised as follows:
- Conducting annual AI surveys in the greatest number of Arab countries possible, collecting data on citizens' opinions towards important issues including:
- Citizens' assessments of the general economic and political conditions in their countries, state authorities and major institutions, and domestic and foreign policy;
- Citizens' support for democracy and democratic values, and their assessment of the level of democracy and political and general freedom in their countries;
- The level of political and civil participation;
- Opinions on religion and religiosity and the effect of religion on other attitudes;
- Opinions on the Arab environment, intra-Arab relations, and threats to the Arab World and major Arab causes – in particular, the Palestinian issue;
- Opinions on the developments of the Arab Spring and democratic transition;
- Opinions on political issues affecting particular Arab countries or groups thereof.
- Tracing and analysing changes in public opinion.
- Establishing a broad base of information about Arab societies based on empirical studies and rooted in the priorities of their citizens.
- Publishing survey results via traditional and new media in order to reach the largest possible audience.
- Disseminating survey results in academic circles and encouraging their use in research.
- Disseminating survey results in decision-making circles and encouraging their use in public policymaking or assessment of public policy.
- Keeping abreast of technological developments in surveys.
- Consolidating an academic survey culture in which surveying of this kind enjoys the significance it deserves as an applied social science, and acting as a resource for other researchers interested in conducting surveys in the Arab World.