Survey Methods, Traditional, Public Opinion Polling

Christian Elmelund-Præstekær, David Nicolas Hopmann, Rasmus Tue Pedersen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopedia chapterResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Traditional public opinion polls are surveys in which a random sample of a given population is asked questions about their attitudes, knowledge, or behavior. If conducted properly, the answers from such surveys are approximately representative of the entire population. Traditional public opinion polling is typically based on four different methods of data gathering, or combinations hereof: face-to-face, postal surveys, phone surveys, and web surveys. Given that opinion polls are based on a sample, we cannot be sure that the sample reflects public opinion perfectly, however—even if randomness is perfect. Moreover, responses may be highly dependent on the contextual information provided with the question. Also, it may be difficult to capture past or complex causes of attitudes or behavior. In short, surveys are a precise way of measuring public opinion, but they do not come without challenges.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods
    EditorsJörg Matthes, Christine S. Davis, Robert F. Potter
    Number of pages5
    Place of PublicationHoboken, NJ
    PublisherWiley-Blackwell
    Publication date7 Nov 2017
    ISBN (Electronic)9781118901731
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2017

    Keywords

    • Polling
    • Public opinion
    • Quantitative methods
    • Survey methods

    Cite this

    Elmelund-Præstekær, C., Hopmann, D. N., & Pedersen, R. T. (2017). Survey Methods, Traditional, Public Opinion Polling. In J. Matthes, C. S. Davis, & R. F. Potter (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118901731.iecrm0245