Dictionary of Polling: The Language of Contemporary Opinion Research

Dictionary of Polling: The Language of Contemporary Opinion Research

Dictionary of Polling: The Language of Contemporary Opinion Research

Dictionary of Polling: The Language of Contemporary Opinion Research

Synopsis

This dictionary defines the most important terms in contemporary public opinion research. About 400 words mark out the field, words needed if one wants to understand the language of polling and to claim literacy in the field. This lexicon is designed for professionals working in the survey research field, for pollsters and those who produce polls, and for students and scholars concerned with public opinion. Journalists, political professionals, elected officials, and federal, state, and local officials will also find this guide to practice and usage in the field extremely valuable. A general introduction assesses the key literature dealing with polling and a lengthy bibliography appears at the back of the book.

Excerpt

Dictionary of Polling defines the most important terms in contemporary public opinion research. These are the approximately four hundred words that mark out the field of polling--the words necessary to command before one can claim literacy in the field. These words can fairly be described as the language of polling.

This book has been written with two primary audiences in mind: the people who produce polls, that is, pollsters; and the people who use polls. For pollsters and other professionals working in the survey research field, this book is designed to be used as a ready reference source. For poll users--journalists, political professionals, elected officials, and federal, state, and local officials are among this second audience--this book provides a guide to practice and usage in the field.

Approximately four terms were considered for inclusion for every term finally included. Two main criteria were used to determine which terms would be chosen: (1) a minimum of five citations in books or journals was required before listing a given entry; (2) most highly technical or specialized terms were excluded, on the grounds that they would not be relevant for most readers. In practice, excluding highly technical terms meant that the more esoteric sampling terms and infrequently encountered statistical terms do not appear in Dictionary of Polling.

A final word about organization: the text is designed to be used in two main ways. First, the alphabetical format facilitates direct reference to the approximately four hundred entries. A reader looking for the term "response rate," for example, would simply turn to the Rs. Most main terms also include extensive cross listings to other terms in the book so a reader can follow terms through a reference chain of related terms.

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