Full Text

Public Opinion Polling

Thomas Petersen


The term “public opinion polling” generally refers collectively to both the representative → survey method and to the institutes that specialize in employing this method, particularly to commercial survey institutes. Other terms commonly employed in this context are: “public opinion research,” “survey research,” or simply, if somewhat confusingly, → “ public opinion .” The term “demoscopy” (Greek: “observation of the public”), originally suggested by American scientist Stuart Dodd ( Dodd 1946 ), is also commonly used in some European countries, particularly in connection with political debate, although it has not gained a foothold in English-speaking countries. Along with media content analysis (→ Content Analysis, Quantitative ), the laboratory experiment (→ Experiment, Laboratory ), and participant → observation , public opinion polling is one of the most important tools in empirical communication research. Survey research serves as a vital source of information in the social sciences, as well as in the areas of market research, media research, and the political sphere. The three cornerstones of survey research are: the standardization of the investigative technique, i.e., completing → interviews using a firmly worded questionnaire; analyzing the findings in aggregate, in other words, observing respondents as a group, not as individuals; and the random selection of respondents ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top