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Polling America: An Encyclopedia of Public Opinion, Volume One, A-O and Volume Two, P-Z
     

Polling America: An Encyclopedia of Public Opinion, Volume One, A-O and Volume Two, P-Z

by Samuel J. Best (Editor), Benjamin Radcliff (Editor)
 

The term public opinion means the feeling or sentiment shared by most people, the voice of the people. This definition may be simple, but it is often difficult to determine what the public's opinion is on any given issue and how to interpret its meaning. This two-volume encyclopedia defines and discusses the history and development of public opinion as a concept in

Overview

The term public opinion means the feeling or sentiment shared by most people, the voice of the people. This definition may be simple, but it is often difficult to determine what the public's opinion is on any given issue and how to interpret its meaning. This two-volume encyclopedia defines and discusses the history and development of public opinion as a concept in democracy, major public opinion controversies in American politics, and the science and methods of opinion polling. Over 170 signed entries explain the major concepts, people, historical events, organizations, practice and theory, and measurement methods of public opinion and political opinion polling in the United States.

Entries include: Noam Chomsky, exit polls, gender differences, liberalism and conservatism, National Election Studies, polling and voting, random digit dialing, and survey ethics. Ready reference materials include statistics and charts and a listing of major public opinion research centers, organizations and archives. Excellent for researchers and students in political science and civics courses.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Opinion polls have played an increasingly significant role in the dynamics of US policy analysis. Editors Best and Radcliff, both political science scholars, have produced an impressive encyclopedia containing over 170 signed articles that span the study of public opinion. Focusing on the American pulse, the encyclopedia contains two types of entries. The first type provides overviews of policy topics, such as animal rights and gun control, which summarize the evolution of these issues and attitudes of the American public. The second type describes survey and design tools used in the methodology of polling, such as focus group reporting and stratified sampling, along with entries for prominent individuals in the polling field. Substantial in both scope and length, all entries include a bibliography plus a list of important Web sites. A useful appendix includes a list of professional organizations, archives, and academic survey centers for each state…. Recommended. Academic collections supporting lower-level undergraduates and above." - Choice

"The wide range of subjects will satisfy the uninformed who seek to understand such things as exit polls and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), while professionals will discover thorough treatments of such topics as ecological inference, recall methods, and structural equation modeling….[a]n excellent, mostly accessible resource. Highly recommended, especially for smaller public libraries whose holdings in this important area may be limited." - Library Journal

"Samuel Best and Benjamin Radcliff have produced an engaging encyclopedia on many aspects of polling and public opinion research. The two volumes cover more than 170 topics, ranging from terms used in polling to topics frequently covered in polls….The entries make interesting reading. There is extensive cross-referencing within entries, which helps the uninitiated to find their way more easily….Polling America is a valuable and useful addition to most reference collections. The wide range of topics, depth of coverage, and value added features, such as the list of suggested readings for each topic, make this a work highly recommended for all academic libraries." - Reference & User Services Quarterly

"From agree/disagree questioning to survey error and weighting, Polling America reviews the science of opinion polling. The 174 alphabetically-arranged essays present the basic theories, methods, and uses of public opinion research. Exit polls, response rates, sample sizes, focus groups, assessment methods and measurement models are among the concepts explained. Also explored are questions of religious, racial and gender differences in response to surveys. Changes in public opinion in the United States are examined in historical overviews of such perennial issues of debate as abortion, taxes, crime, gun control, immigration and health policy. Other entries describe the affects on public opinion of media reporting, campaign advertising, racial stereotypes and political labeling…. With substantial, expert-written essays and extensive suggestions for further reading, Polling America provides a firm foundation in the theory of public opinion research." - Lawrence Looks at Books

"High school and undergraduate students as well as general readers will find a wealth of useful information concerning the ubiquitous practice of polling in the U.S. in this two-volume reference. Entries are included both on the perennial issues and on the process of polling (with the emphasis on the latter), so that readers will find entries on abortion, crime, gay rights, and trust in government as well as topics such as content analysis, coverage error, data integration, prospect theory, and weighting. Entries conclude with an annotated list for further reading and notes on websites." - Reference & Research Book News

"This specialized encyclopedia provides college and university and high school students and generalists with more than 170 signed articles covering topics as diverse as Animal rigths; Cohabitation measures; Gay rights; Lippman, Walter; Mail surveys; and Welfare. Collectively these articles define, discuss, and provide historical context form public opinion as a component of modern democracy. Additionally, they explain the practice, theory, measurement methods, and organizations that drive public opinion in the U.S….The entries pack a lot of information into just a few pages, and will serve well as a research starting point for secondary-school and undergraduate students….[w]orthy of consideration by larger public and academic libraries." - Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin

Library Journal
Editors Best (public policy, Univ. of Connecticut) and Radcliff (political science, Univ. of Notre Dame), both of whom have practical experience conducting surveys, have assembled an impressive group of academicians and professional pollsters to write more than 170 A-to-Z entries on all aspects of polling, from its methodology to the substantive issues treated by surveys, such as abortion. There are also such entries as "Noam Chomsky," "random digit dialing," and "survey ethics." The length of the entries varies from a few paragraphs to several pages, depending on the subject's importance and complexity. The wide range of subjects will satisfy the uninformed who seek to understand such things as exit polls and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), while professionals will discover thorough treatments of such topics as ecological inference, recall methods, and structural equation modeling. Bottom Line Though this work is written clearly, concisely, and with precision, some of its more esoteric subjects (e.g., random sampling) incorporate rather sophisticated statistical or mathematical computations that may be beyond even the informed lay reader. Students and general readers interested in learning more about the intricacies of polling and survey research, however, will find this an excellent, mostly accessible resource. Highly recommended, especially for smaller public libraries whose holdings in this important area may be limited.-Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313327018
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/30/2005
Edition description:
2-Volume Set
Pages:
1068
Product dimensions:
7.48(w) x 10.36(h) x 2.22(d)

Meet the Author

Samuel J. Best is director of the Center for Survey Research and Anaylsis and Associate Professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of numerous articles on public opinion and survey methods.

Benjamin Radcliff is Professor of political science and director of graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has published extensively in such journals as American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics.

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