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 Public Opinion Research in Propaganda

MichaelKunczik andEva JohannaSchweitzer


Since the 1920s, propaganda has become a major concern in communication research. Especially the propaganda activities during World War I, the ideological battle in World War II, and the diffusion of the mass media as channels for persuasive messages led communication scientists to concentrate on the content and possible effects of propaganda in a variety of historical and geopolitical contexts. However, the underlying prerequisites of effective propaganda, that is, the application of social science methods to evaluate and prepare propaganda activities, have seldom been questioned. The present chapter therefore attempts to deal with this topic by focusing on case studies, as a complete overview of the use of public opinion research in propaganda is too ...

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