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.

The Use of Visual Materials in Surveys


Although the use of visual materials plays a major role in applied survey research, this topic is seldom discussed in the methodological literature in the field. There are a variety of reasons for this. To begin with, visual materials are especially important in market and media research—two areas that generally receive little attention in empirical social research. Furthermore, the fact that telephone interviews have, to a great extent, eclipsed traditional face-to-face interviews over recent decades has caused interest in visual materials to wane even further, since visual materials obviously cannot be used in telephone surveys. This trend is problematic for a number of reasons. A side from narrowing the range of possible questionnaire techniques (see Noelle-Neumann & Petersen, ...

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