Monday, February 20, 2012

Notable E-Book: SAGE Handbook of Public Opinion Research

You probably know that Suffolk has its own major public opinion research center. Founded in 2002, the Suffolk University Political Research Center (SUPRC) has become a national leader in political polling. (Click the left sidebar on the linked page above for recent examples of their polls in this VERY political year!)

But did you know that we also have several good electronic sources for other public opinion research? These include the extensive Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (aka iPOLL Databank) and another extensive collection of surveys from a variety of sources calling Polling the Nations (remember to logoff from the latter as it has only one simultaneous user).

We also have a variety of books on the subject. And a recent infusion of new ebooks into our Sage eReference database includes another useful resource entitled the SAGE Handbook of Public Opinion Research.

The publisher claims that "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." While the editors indicate that "as a handbook, [this book] should give the reader an overview of the most important concepts included in and surrounding the term public opinion and its application in modern social research. We have assembled a set of authors who are active researchers and experts in the fields on which they were asked to write a contribution."

A major section on "Methodology" covers the design of surveys from telephone or face-to-face to panels and focus groups. Other sections address the legal and ethical issues of survey research and the use of polling as a media and propaganda/political tool. The book's final section deals with specific applications in marketing and voter research and the like.

The landing page for the eBook allows you to quickly search a keyword concept across the entire volume. You can also browse a Table of Contents or an A-Z index with a "search as you type" box attached.

Besides this handbook, there are plenty of other titles related to a wide variety of topics and research methods in all the social sciences within the Sage eReference database. They're all worth exploring for quick background, basic information and topic overviews, so don't stop with this title!

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