Paragon Research International
Paragon Research was founded in 1989 by the late Dr. Michael Swafford and was formally incorporated in September 1990. Since then, Paragon Research has conducted more than 15 large-scale surveys in the territory of the former Soviet Union (FSU) for such clients as the BBC, the University of North Carolina, Harvard University’s Russian Research Center, the World Bank, and USAID. In addition, Dr. Swafford simultaneously conducted survey research on social stratification and on survey sample design in the FSU under three academic grants from the National Council for Soviet and East European Research in Washington, D.C.
Paragon Research maintains close partnerships in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Central Asia. Instead of hiring a large permanent staff in the United States, Dr. Swafford worked for several years developing the expertise of indigenous social scientists in three stages of survey research: sampling, field work, and data coding and entry. With a grant from the National Council for Soviet and East European Research, he brought world-class sampling experts to the FSU and developed the first true probability samples of several republics. Recently, under a contract with the World Bank, he developed a team of experts to advise the Russian government in its samples to measure the standard of living and the unemployment rate. In field work, with his partners from the former Soviet Union, Dr. Swafford produced Russian-language video tapes for use in training interviewers and supervisors; these tapes have already been used several times in Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. In data entry and coding, he commissioned computer software to increase the reliability of coding open-ended answers about occupations (in Russian) with the four-digit codes of the International Labor Office (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The program has already been successfully used in several studies to assign ILO codes to more than 40,000 responses to sets of questions on respondents’ occupations in the FSU. Dr. Swafford also commissioned Russian-language software for double-entry verification in data entry.
Paragon Research is also involved in several projects unrelated to survey research. The company has converted software for producing computer-aided instruction (multimedia or “distance learning”) into Russian and has a license to distribute it throughout the former Soviet Union. Paragon owns the Russian company 3-S (Statistical Software and Service), the sole distributor of SPSS in the Russian Federation. It also has agreements with ADC World Map for the production and distribution of digitized maps of the Russian Federation throughout the world.
Dr. Swafford first lived in the Soviet Union in 1973 and 1974, and since then has returned more than 30 times. Since 1989, he has lived and traveled for more than two years in the FSU.