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Chapter 8

Surveys and Questionnaires 


Are Polls Different Than Survey Research?

Both polls and surveys pose questions for participants to answer. The Public Policy Polling website archives its polls on political and sports issues relevant to Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. Notice how the questions are constructed and what methods are employed. Compare these types of polling questions to some of the items used in questionnaires for scholarly research (see the listing for Dr. McCroskey’s site below).

You Can Find Poll Data Here

Most universities have a membership in the Roper Poll Database. Go to this site to see if your university is a member. If your university is a member, you can access nearly 800,000 survey questions and over 23,000 datasets from more than 100 different countries.Topics include the role of governmentrace relationshealtheducation, and much more.

Fitting Yourself into a Category

Have you ever been confused or frustrated trying to identify your race or ethnicity on a survey? As a result of the problems in how people use racial and ethnic identifiers, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revised its Directive 15, which designated and standardized racial and ethnic categories used in the 2000 U.S. census. All other federal programs must adopt these standards no later than 2003 to provide uniformity and comparability n the collection and use of data by federal agencies. The categories used by the OMB are often applied in public and private research projects as well, especially those funded by government agencies.


Want to Create an Online Survey?

There are online services that can be used to create, post, and host your online surveys. Check out SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, and QuestionPro.

Are College Students a Good Source of Survey Respondents?

If you are studying college students, specifically, then yes. But should you have any concerns about collecting survey data from college students? This study found that "approximately 10%–12% of undergraduates completing a lengthy survey for course credit were identified as careless responders." A careless responder is described as a research participant who introduces random or nonrandom variation into the dataset. Read the article to find the authors' suggestions for improving survey responses from college students. 

Communication Research Measures

Dr. James McCroskey has posted over 30 scales of communication variables on his website. These may be used for research with proper citation.


Updated August 13, 2020


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