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Researching the Public Opinion Environment

Researching the Public Opinion Environment
Theories and Methods

May 2000 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Researching the Public Opinion Environment informs the reader on the rationale, purposes, theories, and methodologies involved in researching publics. The book is divided into four parts. Part one looks at theories and systems relevant to opinion research. Part two addresses the topics of monitoring and analyzing the media. Part three describes the basics of survey research, focus groups, Delphi techniques, stakeholder assemblies, and Q methodology. And finally, part four analyzes the impact of the media.

Although a number of books have been written on public opinion, few address both theoretical and methodological issues. Graphs, tables, and sample analysis help the reader to understand applications described in the book. The material discussed in this book has numerous applications. Communicators can apply information acquired on key publics to plan and evaluate campaigns, track the extent to which messages have appeared in the media, assess organizational image, develop marketing strategies, and manage their issues. Students will learn an important job function for added credibility when they apply for jobs.

Role of Public Opinion in Democratic Societies
Establishing Intelligence Systems to Capture Public Opinion
Monitoring the Media
Asking Questions

Content Analysis Techniques
Survey Design and Sampling
Survey Development
Survey Administration
Focus Groups, Delphi Techniques, Stakeholder Assemblies and Q Methodology
Academic Debate over Media Effects
The Effects Continuum


“Ferguson’s book is an interesting mix of theoretical and methodical themes related to the use of public opinion research in organizations. . . . The central focus seems to be to acquaint the reader with the most important theoretical and research technical aspects of public opinion research. . . . The book provides professional communication workers and students from business schools a simple introduction to issues of public opinion research.”

Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research

This book is absolutely amazing. It has everything one needs for both conducting research on public opinion, and teaching research methods. I am particularly thrilled with the media research section because I have lots of students conducting research on media framing, and I have no doubts they will be thrilled for having this book.

Dr Martina Topic
Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University
June 16, 2015

I am particularly interested in Delphi Technique and Q Methodology. I had read a review that suggested this book might be more about these topics than it turned out to be. One problem with these methods is the lack of academic critique they have received. I was hoping to find a text that would discuss how such social science methods are developed and critiqued (theory rather than mere practice thereof), which would serve as useful background for students using or developing "responsive" or "on-the-ground" methods themselves. Unfortunately this wasn't the book (no fault of the author!).

Professor Michael Biggs
School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire
December 19, 2013

Sage College Publishing

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