Chapter 15

Examining Polls and Surveys


Bullet Critiquing the design of a survey

Bullet Evaluating the selected sample

Bullet Spotting problems in the data collection process

Bullet Examining survey results the right way

Polls and surveys are a part of our daily lives. Pollsters ask you over the phone or through the mail to participate in a survey, or you read or hear about the results of the latest poll (from fashion to news, you can find polls on almost every topic). Surveys are very powerful, both in good and bad ways, and being able to dissect a survey from beginning to end helps you decide whether a survey is worthy of your participation or whether the results you see and hear are believable.

You can break the survey process down into a series of ten steps:

  1. State the purpose of the survey.
  2. Define the target population (the group you intend to make conclusions about).
  3. Choose the type of survey you want to administer (mail, telephone, interview, and so on).
  4. Design the questions you plan to ask the survey participants.
  5. Consider the timing of the survey.
  6. Select the sample of individuals who ...

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