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Understanding and Interpreting Polls

About This Course

Journalists are bombarded with data from polls, especially when election season approaches. Are you confident you can tell the legitimate numbers from the sloppy surveys? How effectively can you evaluate the polling methods? Do you know when nine out of 10 isn't really nine out of 10?

In this course, you'll learn to dig into the survey data and see how the numbers measure up. You will gain a better understanding of how polls are conducted, what to look for in the methodology and how to determine the legitimacy of a poll.

What Will I Learn

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the value of solid polling data
  • Understand the science of polling
  • Identify the elements of a valid poll
  • Interpret the methods box of a poll
  • Analyze the quality of questions
  • Identify appropriate sample groups
  • Understand weighting and its value
  • Evaluate polling agencies and sponsors

Who Should Take This Course

New journalists, veteran journalists, J-school students, political science majors, bloggers, voters and anyone who wants to know why polls work and how they are conducted.

Training Partner

American Association for Public Opinion Research

American Association for Public Opinion Research

The American Association for Public OPinion Research (AAPOR) is the leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals in the U.S., with members from academia, media, government, the non-profit sector and private industry.

This $30 course is free thanks to the support of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and Knight Foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

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See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.

  1. Course Number

    Self-directed Course
  2. Classes Start

  3. Estimated Effort

    3 to 4 hours