Polls and Surveys: Understanding What They Tell Us
Rossi, Peter H., Journal of the American Statistical Association
Norman M. Bradburn and Seymour Sudman. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1988. xx + 249 pp. $22.95.
When you are next approached at a reception and asked whether this poll is valid or why that person has never been interviewed by a survey organization, you no longer have to mutter that you are a theoretical statistician. When an undergraduate asks you how a sample of only 55,000 households can represent the population of the United States, you need not refer them to the nearest textbook describing sampling distributions. When a local official asks whether you have a graduate student who could write a master's thesis by conducting a sample survey, at no cost to the community, on satisfaction with local garbage-collection practices, you do not have to pretend that you only teach undergraduates. Instead, you can refer them to this book. Better still, get your local library to add it to its holdings so you can give your tormentors the proper call number.
The virtue of this book is that it makes accessible and understandable to the proverbial intelligent layperson the most important features of sample surveys, including topics such as sampling, wording of questions, how interviews are conducted, and validity. …