2018 | 25 | 2 |
Article title

Opinion polls as a data source in political science studies. Can they be trusted or not?

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Polling of the general public opinions and behaviors in politics permanently entered mass media and also became a serious source of political commentaries and analysis. The author of this paper considers possible risks and possibilities due to exploiting results of public surveys done by research institutions and then used for scientific analysis and commenting current political processes. Research question which the author poses, pertains to credibility conditions of political surveys as the sources of data used for political analyses. This author puts forward a hypothesis that credibility of data gained from research providers depends essentially on many factors, such as methodology used, technical approach to research, realization, and familiarity with both as well as evaluative competence of scientists. The author points out good and bad points of particular research procedures and shows basic criteria used as the basis on which a political scientist may be able to assess the quality of survey’s data or compare results of various surveys. In a situation where voters’ and politicians’ communication reality is constantly changing and mass media influence the voting process, opinion polls become an important player on the political scene, and this is why they are evaluated on their credibility. It often happens that opinion pollsters are accused of deliberate lies. The following aspects were analyzed in this text: specifis of the method used in researching public opinions, surveys used in political science, detailed considerations pertaining to research character, research sample, realization indices, tools and techniques, and fially, conclusions concerning the credibility evaluation of survey’s opinion.  
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