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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

GOVT 37 Polling, Public Opinion, and Public Policy

The results of opinion polls often dominate news coverage and alter the behavior of politicians in modern democracies. Although surveys are more common than in the past, they vary considerably in terms of quality. To better understand the potential sources of error, this course introduces students to survey research methods with an emphasis on the polling techniques used by social scientists to study political attitudes and policy preferences. A primary goal of the course is to help students understand fundamental concepts like sampling or responses rates as well as best practices for designing questionnaires and response options. The class will also cover advanced topics such as survey experiments, nonprobability panels, statistical power, and post-stratification weighting among others. During the course, students will explore and analyze public opinion patterns in survey data archives before ultimately writing and programming an original study. Learning survey methodology should be particularly useful for anyone who plans to (A) take more advanced quantitative methodology courses, (B) write an honors thesis, (C) serve as a research assistant, (D) attend graduate school, or (E) work in professional areas that make use of opinion data, including consulting, law, journalism, education, business, health care, policy evaluation, or government. 



Cross Listed Courses

PBPL 044 QSS 30.20

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:SOC; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.