Social Conditions of Survey Research

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:50 PM
Room: 416
Oral Presentation
Miroslawa GRABOWSKA , Philosophy and Sociology, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Janusz DURLIK , Public Opinion Research Center, Warszawa, Poland
The analysis will include two aspects: (1) social conditions of conducting surveys, and (2) social conditions of obtaining meaningful, accurate and reliable answers. These first are very difficult to influence, but researchers have to analyze it to know what the situation is. When it comes to getting reliable answers to sensitive questions, a number of indirect measurement strategies have been developed. In both cases we will present the results of analyses of Public Opinion Research Centre (CBOS) data – treating them as an illustration of the broader processes rather than as a basis for more far-reaching generalizations.

Ad 1. The CBOS (along with the Institute of Sociology of the University of Warsaw) has analyzed participation in survey research and the "escape from the field of the question" (giving an insignificant answer like "It is difficult to say” or refusal to answer). We attempted to determine whether these responses depend on and how they depend on the questions’ issues (closer and easier, or more distant and more difficult for respondents), the characteristics of the respondent (gender and age, education and interest in politics, the place of residence), the attitude of the respondent to the interview, and finally, dependence on historical time – the analysis included a quarter century – the period 1985-2011 – including the transformation of the system.

Ad 2. Because asking questions about sensitive issues carries risks, and even a high probability of distortion of answers to comply with social norms (social desirability bias), and in Poland the abortion issue is very sensitive, so the randomized response technique was used to get to the actual experiences of abortion of women. Field work lasted six months (November 2012 – April 2013), and the research procedures included a total of 3576 Polish women. The results of this technique will be presented.