Survey Research and Design
Cross-listed with COMM 332
Survey research is a small but rich academic discipline, drawing on theory and practice from many diverse fields including political science and communication. This course canvasses the science and practice of survey methods, sampling theory, instrument development and operationalization, and the analysis and reporting of survey data. Major areas of focus include measurement and research of survey errors, application to election polling, new frontiers in data collection, overall development of data management, and introductory analytics.
Public Opinion: Survey, Research And Design
Public Opinion: Survey, Research and Design is a course in the art and science of survey research, an essential methodological tool in the social sciences and in public policy. Students will learn how to design, implement, analyze, and write about surveys. By working on an actual online non-probability survey, students will learn hands-on all the steps in the process, including problem formation, sample design and selection, questionnaire development, and data collection. Students will learn about various types of surveys, including election polling, and about the issues facing pollsters today.
Political polls are a central feature of elections and are ubiquitously employed to understand and explain voter intentions and public opinion. This course will examine political polling by focusing on four main areas of consideration. First, what is the role of political polls in a functioning democracy? This area will explore the theoretical justifications for polling as a representation of public opinion. Second, the course will explore the business and use of political polling, including media coverage of polls, use by politicians for political strategy and messaging, and the impact polls have on elections specifically and politics more broadly. The third area will focus on the nuts and bolts of election and political polls, specifically with regard to exploring traditional questions and scales used for political measurement; the construction and considerations of likely voter models; measurement of the horserace; and samples and modes used for election polls. The course will additionally cover a fourth area of special topics, which will include exit polling, prediction markets, polling aggregation, and other topics. It is not necessary for students to have any specialized mathematical or statistical background for this course.