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.

International Comparative Surveys: Their Purpose, Content and Methodological Challenges


Sociology is a science based on comparisons, as Durkheim defined it. Comparative surveys are therefore at the core of the development of empirical sociology and political science. International, cross-cultural comparative surveys are the natural extension of that science in a globalized world.

The development of international comparative survey research started in the most developed societies with the highest levels of collaborations, principally in Europe and in the Anglo-Saxon countries. This was a marked difference with the past when social science developed with hardly any interaction; in fact Durkheim and Weber lived no more than 500 kilometers away from each other but never met.

Two types of comparative survey research programs are to be found: on the one hand ...

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