Survey Practice August 2010
With this issue, Survey Practice begins its third year. SP continues to evolve and additional changes will continue for the next year. Prior to this issue, most articles were reviewed by two editors. For this issue and in the future, we will use at least one additional reviewer. The members of the Survey Practice Editorial Board responded enthusiastically to our request for reviewing support, and their help is greatly appreciated.
Another coming change – we are going to add an additional requirement that authors provide the information requested in the Transparency Initiative for appropriate articles. Janice Ballou is working with the editors to create a policy and guidelines for the authors. We will say more about this topic in the next issue.
On our wish list for next year is a new website for Survey Practice. We started SP using blog software (WordPress). The software is free and somewhat easy to use. However, WordPress has many layout limitations, does not show up in search engines, and many companies and government agencies block blog software, so their employees cannot read SP at their offices.
Pollsters are sometimes reluctant to add third party candidates to their ballot questions because reading minor candidates’ names may erroneously increase their vote estimate, perhaps even creating its own feedback loop. A survey experiment conducted by Peter Woolley and Dan Cassino in the New Jersey gubernatorial race suggests that is exactly what happened with a third party candidate.
The increasing diversity of our survey populations is bringing additional challenges to survey researchers. The article by Martin Cerda and Ilgin Basar demonstrates that the Hispanics and non-Hispanics respond differently to the same scales with Hispanics using extreme responses more often. An earlier article in SP found that Asian Americans avoided extreme responses. Norming responses across race and ethnic groups might soon be needed.
The article by Oliver Lipps provides more information on another diversity issue by looking at the demographic characteristics of successful interviewers. He found that in Switzerland older male telephone interviewers were more successful in gaining cooperation across all ages and for both men and women.
The article on differences in data quality using different question formats by Ariel Finno and Jessica Kohout shows some surprising differences in data quality for a question about employment setting. They found that an open text box generated better results.
Many survey projects offer lotteries as incentives. In the article by Mary Jane Preece and her colleagues, the effect of one large prize vs. a number of smaller prizes is tested. The results are mixed but interesting.
As always, we welcome your comments on Survey Practice.
- John Kennedy
- Andy Peytchev
- David Moore
- Diane O’Rourke