• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

The Use of Scales in Surveys
The use of scales in surveys

As in the natural sciences, research is conducted in the social sciences in order both to test empirical presumptions and to provide answers to problems. Whereas the natural scientist uses balances, rulers and meters, the social scientist mainly uses scales to obtain information about attitudes, values and intentions. Empirical social science uses methods of scale construction to develop scales. This chapter introduces the most common and established techniques of scale construction. Moreover, it examines the vast variety of measurement instruments employed by the social sciences. Finally two approaches that graphically illustrate the objects under investigation will be discussed. For further details on scaling techniques and related methods see, for example, Borg and Staufenbiel (1997) ...

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