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.
It seems implausible that a good measure of what is happening in a whole population can be obtained by examining only a tiny fraction of that population. The theory and practice of sampling underpin this claim. Sampling is the process of selecting a subset of a population; inference consists of using the measurements on that subset to make statements about the population as a whole. This chapter presents the rationale behind sampling and inference from samples, briefly traces its history, and describes the main procedures for sampling for face-to-face surveys and telephone surveys today.
This chapter consists of four sections. The first section presents my seven maxims of sampling, which serve as a foundation for the principles involved. The following two sections cover sampling for ...