Survey Methodology is becoming a more structured field of research, deserving of more and more academic attention. The SAGE Handbook of Survey Methodology explores both the increasingly scientific endeavour of surveys and their growing complexity, as different data collection modes and information sources are combined. The handbook takes a global approach, with a team of international experts looking at local and national specificities, as well as problems of cross-national, comparative survey research. The chapters are organized into seven major sections, each of which represents a stage in the survey life-cycle: Surveys and Societies Planning a Survey Measurement Sampling Data Collection Preparing Data for Use Assessing and Improving Data Quality The SAGE Handbook of Survey Methodology is a landmark and essential tool for any scholar within the social sciences.

Surveys and Society

Claire Durand

This chapter examines the interrelationship between surveys and society, i.e., how changes in the society within which surveys arose affect how they are conducted and how they in turn influence society. Society is, in the broadest sense, the survey sponsor, and it therefore defines the terms of the contract. It influences polls, defining not only the survey questions but also the means used to reach respondents and the conditions under which survey results are analyzed and published. However, the products and results of surveys – e.g., standardized questions, two-way tables of means and proportions – also influence society. They define what is learned and how it is presented to the general public.

The chapter examines the ...

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