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ოთხშაბათი | 06 ოქტომბერი, 2010

Ask CRRC | Survey vs Census

Q: What’s the difference between a survey and a census?

A: In short – census takers attempt to contact all members of a population, while surveyors select a sample of people from the population and use the responses of those people to draw conclusions about the proportions of people in the greater population holding various opinions. There are many advantages to conducting a survey rather than a census, and here are some key examples:

Firstly, results can be produced much more quickly with a survey than with a census. Imagine that you want to gauge Georgian political opinion just before an election. How much time would it take you to interview every adult Georgian? How many interviewers would you need to train in order to conduct all of the interviews in the month before the elections? A political opinion survey conducted by CRRC immediately before the May 2010 elections employed 100 interviewers to attempt 3,284 interviews. The adult population of Georgia is approximately 3.5 million persons, meaning that a census would require roughly 106,577 interviewers. 

Secondly, the far smaller number of interviews conducted in a survey means that you can allocate more of your resources towards ensuring quality. Would you want to spend your money providing a competitive salary to 100 quality interviewers and training them well, or would you rather spend your money paying a minimal wage to 106,577 interviewers and training them insufficiently? In short, a survey allows for more resources to be allocated to other aspects of the process. CRRC invests resources in ensuring quality throughout the survey process, including performing checks to ensure interviewer integrity and entering the data from each interview into the database twice in order to catch data entry errors.

Thirdly, with a survey you can spend your time and money making sure that you collect information on all members of your sample. You can revisit houses where you didn’t find people at home the first time. This is important because certain parts of the population are harder to reach than others. For example, women, older people, and unemployed people are all more likely to be at home when an interviewer visits. These demographic groups may have different answers to survey questions than their counterparts, and a sample that over-represents them may be biased. CRRC interviewers randomly select a respondent in each selected household. If that household member isn’t home, the interviewer schedules a re-visit to the household, and makes a total of three visits to attempt to find that household member at home. This ensures that the sample contains a representative mix of men and women, young and old, employed and unemployed.



The reasons listed above are all interrelated – time, money, and manpower are always limited, and conducting a survey allows an organization to gain as much information as possible for the resources that they expend. However, in some cases the situation is even more extreme – in some cases, the object of measurement has to be destroyed in order to be measured. Think of how a manufacturer measures the number of calories per cookie: they burn a cookie in a machine called a bomb calorimeter, shown in the figure above. The number of calories in the cookie is a measure of how much heat the cookie produces when burned. Not every cookie is identical, so manufacturers take a sample of cookies. They burn each one in a bomb calorimeter, and report the average number of calories generated per cookie in the sample. If they performed a census on the population of cookies and burned every cookie, there would be nothing left to sell.


 
 
08.08.2015 | შაბათი

What do CB interviewers’ ratings of respondents’ intelligence tell us?

CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) surveys regularly collect information about how the interviewers assess each of the conducted interviews – so called paradata that provides additional insight into the conditions surrounding the interviews (e.g., whether someone besides the respondent and the interviewer was present during the face-to-face interview), as well as interviewers’ subjective assessments of, for example, level of sincerity of the respondents.
22.06.2015 | ორშაბათი

Junior Fellows at CRRC-Georgia: Facing new challenges

[Note: Over the next two weeks, Social Science in the Caucasus will publish the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015.]

CRRC’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) was launched in 2009 as a Carnegie Corporation initiative within the CRRC, with the goal of providing on-the-job training opportunities in applied research for young social scientists.
29.01.2010 | პარასკევი

Reporting Data in the Media

This recently was on PhD Comics. So true.
27.08.2010 | პარასკევი

Ask CRRC: what does the public actually know?

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center showing that 18% of Americans think that US President Barack Obama is Muslim, and that a further 43% respond that they don't know what religion the President practices, has raised discussions about the level of political knowledge in democracies. Indeed, Newsweek has published a slideshow showing dumb things that Americans believe.
21.03.2008 | პარასკევი

Philanthropy in Georgia

Corporate Social Responsibility, a fashionable issue, is becoming a topic in the South Caucasus as well. CRRC research fellow, Giorgi Meladze, explored Georgian corporations’ generosity in his research undertaken in 2006.
03.05.2008 | შაბათი

Exit Polls | Take Two

Readers may recall that we voiced some concern with regards to exit polls. Here is a fascinating account, first-hand, by a reputed pollster having what they describe as an "Adventure in Baku".
06.05.2008 | სამშაბათი

Diversity Polling on the Caucasus | Ask500

Sometimes it's worth clicking on those Gmail links. "Ask 500" is a website in beta, the web version of a straw poll. Polling? Surveys? Obviously I wanted to know more. To say it up front: it's about as unrepresentative as you can get, since it assembles those that suffer from terminal curiosity.
09.07.2008 | ოთხშაბათი

Caucasus Data | Language: Russian versus English?

Recently, we happened upon an article that talks about the use of Russian across the Caucasus. Is Russian becoming obsolete? According to the article, some Georgian politicians suggest this is the case. At the same time, the article points out that the uptake of English is too slow to replace Russian as a lingua franca.
17.09.2008 | ოთხშაბათი

What do Russians think about the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia? -- Data Snapshot

How do urban Russians view the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia? From September, 5th-8th, 2008 the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada conducted a survey in ten big cities of the Russian Federation, interviewing 1000 Russian respondents. We have translated the results into English here, as they are only available in the original Russian on the Levada website.
23.10.2008 | ხუთშაბათი

McCain vs Obama: Caucasus preferences


So here's something that we are a little puzzled about. The Economist is undertaking a poll to see which American Presidential candidate is favored by the world. In a very blue worldwide map, rooting for Obama, two noticeable yellowish spots, Macedonia and Georgia. McCain, of course, is popular in Georgia for having said "Today we all are Georgians" during the recent conflict.
08.11.2008 | შაბათი

World Public Opinion: Azerbaijan in Focus

World Public Opinion is the initiative of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland that explores public opinion on a variety of topics in 25 countries across the globe, including Azerbaijan, the only South Caucasus country represented in the survey. Russia and Ukraine are the other two former USSR countries that the project includes.