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Unformatted text preview: Blackboard Readings Sense and Nonsense About Surveys, Howard Schuman Surveys draw on two human propensities- gathering info by asking questions AND learning info about ones environment by examining a small part of it Within the past century, major improvements allowed sampling process to develop o Value of a sample comes not only from size but from the way it is obtained o Ex. Literary Digest poll predicted that Roosevelt would lose 1936 presidential election- 10 million questionnaires sent out and over 2 million sent back BUT George Gallup predicted FDR would win because he used less cases but quotas in choosing respondents to represent diff economic strata Gallup did not use probability sampling methods which calls for each person in the population to have an equal chance of being selected When targeted members of a population are not interviewed or dont respond to particular questions then the omissions are a serious problem if they are numerous and if those missed differ from those who are interviewed Survey results are AS dependent on the form, wording, and context of the questions asked as they are on the sample of people who answer them So, responses to survey questions must be viewed with skepticism However, if question wording is kept constant, then differences overtime, across edu levels, and most other comparisons are not seriously affected by wording To interpret surveys accurately, it is important to use a framework of comparative data in evaluating the results Overall, surveys remain essential for learning about large populations...
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- Spring '06