Survey Research and Its Role in Political Science Research


BY HEIGRUJAM PREMKUMAR

Importance of Survey as a Research Tool

  • It helps us with evidence, which is very important in any research.
  • We may be aware of some facts, but there is a  need to verify those facts. The findings of the survey may confirm or refute it.

However, survey research is not ideal for controversial or very sensitive issues.

Besides, if the questionnaire is not properly designed, reliability is less.

How Can We Judge Reliability of Survey Findings?

We can judge the reliability of survey findings on the following basis:

  • Representativeness- proportion;
  • Questionnaire design- neutral, not bias;
  • Data collection method- neutrality.

Size of sample, its selection instruments, field work and data collection- these things also determine survey reliability.

Role of Surveys in Political Science Research

Accurate pictures of the political world are not easy to come by. Describing political activities of millions of citizens, thousands of groups and hundreds of institutions are never easy.

To comprehend these phenomena, political scientists need observational tools as powerful as those in the natural sciences. Scientific surveys are one of these tools.

The following are the points in support of surveys as a tool in Political Science research:

  • widely in use since 1940s;
  • surveys are powerful data collectors and accurate magnifiers of information;
  • suitable for almost any topic, wide range of applicability;
  • highly reliable, representative, unbiased;
  • survey methodology is an extraordinary powerful approach to studying the social and political world;
  • capacity for confirming theories about politics; and
  • policy relevance.

Also read types of sampling

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