Five Tips on Reading Polls

Imagine you work as a lead researcher for a polling organization. You are designing a survey to reveal public attitudes on a key political issue.


  1. Select an issue you would like to survey. Your selection should be one on which public opinion has been established and various groups have articulated their position.
  2. Using the information provided in the “Art of Public Opinion Polling: Survey Design 101” Power Point, and information from the textbook, think about the three steps to designing a survey:

A. State your Research Question

 What is your research question?  Consider the importance of clearly stating the issue you want to        survey.

B. State the sample selection procedure and the size of your sample

 What fundamental principles should surveys employ to measure public opinion; how important is it to        select an appropriate sample and sample size?

C. Bias versus unbiased survey questions

              Scientific polling relies on avoiding biased or leading questions in order to generate clean survey sample               data. 

3. Create a basic survey design using the template in Course Documents.   

4. Complete the last part of the assignment by noting your conclusions based on the survey results you anticipate. Your conclusions should be based on the survey results you expect to collect—you do not have to have actual survey participants. 

5. Submit your completed template to Survey Design 101.


Students learn the basics of survey design and obtain knowledge to analytically evaluate survey quality.

 Below is a template