Public opinion theory and research are becoming increasingly significant in modern societies as people's attitudes and behaviors become ever more volatile and opinion poll data becomes ever more readily available. This major new Handbook is the first to bring together into one volume the whole field of public opinion theory, research methodology, and the political and social embeddedness of polls in modern societies. It comprehensively maps out the state-of-the-art in contemporary scholarship on these topics.

With over fifty chapters written by distinguished international researchers, both academic and from the commercial sector, this Handbook is designed to:

Give the reader an overview of the most important concepts included in and surrounding the term ‘public opinion’ and its application in modern social research; Present the basic empirical concepts for assessing public opinion and opinion changes in society; Provide an overview of the social, political and legal status of public opinion research, how it is perceived by the public and by journalists, and how it is used by governments; Offer a review of the role and use of surveys for selected special fields of application, ranging from their use in legal cases to the use of polls in marketing and campaigns.

The SAGE Handbook of Public Opinion Research provides an indispensable resource for both practitioners and students alike.

Face-To-Face Surveys

JenniferDykema,DannaBasson andNora CateSchaeffer

Face-to-face interviews are the oldest method of survey data collection and still have an important role in many studies. In their purest form, face-to-face surveys use interviewers to both contact and collect information from respondents (de Leeuw & Collins, 1997). Face-to-face surveys, along with telephone surveys, self-administered questionnaires (such as mail surveys), and e-mail and Internet surveys, comprise the four different modes of data collection discussed in this Handbook. Face-to-face surveys can be used alone, but often are used in combination with these other modes.

Decisions about whether to conduct a face-to-face survey are influenced by concerns about costs and data quality, sampling issues, design features of the instrument, and the desired length of the field period. Modes of data collection used ...

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