New Cognitive Perspective in Survey Research Methodology. Comparative Results from Georgia, Russia and Poland

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:24 AM
Room: 416
Oral Presentation
Katarzyna STASZYNSKA , Faculty of Social Sciences, Kozminski University, Warsaw, Poland, Poland
Applications of the cognitive psychology theories analyze the bias in survey research limiting the meaning of the term “cognitive” to cognitive functioning of peoples’ minds. Cognition should be understood in a broader sense because it is determined not only by intellectual capabilities of people but also by their social background as well as by their values and attitudes. Although it is obvious that achieved education is an inferential indicator of intellectual capabilities of a person, thus his or her cognitive abilities, it is not that obvious that intellectual capabilities are determined by social background and social experience of the people and that heir perception of survey situation depends not only on the abilities buy also on the attitudes. If respondent has never experienced democratic form of government and, in addition, does not have a theoretical knowledge about what democracy is, he/she cannot really express his/her attitudes to democracy. And, of course, his/her intellectual capabilities have something to do with the ability to express attitudes toward democracy but their effect on quality of response cannot be limited to strictly cognitive processes that are involved in answering the survey questions because this depends on the attitudes as well.
    Our approach assumes that social background, political knowledge and experience as well as political attitudes of people affect how they understand public opinion polling and, finally, affect the quality of answers. The comparative data were gathered in Poland (2010), Georgia (2013) and Russia (2012). The aim of analysis was to find to what extend political attitudes and experience determine the perception of public opinion polls and quality of answers. Significant differences have been found between attitudes and survey behaviors of Georgians, Poles and Russians.