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.

Self-Administered Paper Questionnaires

Self-administered paper questionnaires


The mail survey may be the oldest of systematic survey methods. The earliest known such survey was conducted in 1577 by King Phillip II of Spain, who posed 38 written questions sent by official courier to leaders of his New World colonies (Erdos, 1970). Despite modern innovations in survey research methodology, including telephone and web data collection, the practice of asking people to write their answers to questions and either hand them to the surveyor or return them by mail remains a viable and much used data collection procedure to measure opinions.

An example of the current effectiveness of mail data collection methods is a general public survey of community satisfaction and involvement administered in 2005 to residents of a small ...

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