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View Diary: Statistics 101 Book recommendations (79 comments)

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  •  Too many books - for a primer see (1+ / 0-)
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    There are many books on survey research, all available by searching Amazon using that phrase. Is that what you want? However, these books are mostly oriented toward the design of surveys, not how to read them. Perhaps someone here can recommend one of the more basic ones.

    The post here seems to have started as a list of general books on statistics, including topics that seem quite unrelated to political polling, such as regression tree analysis. (I do think regression trees are an interesting topic, but in the context of this discussion and Web site, somewhat obscure.)

    For political polling methods, one problem is that the industry can a secretive business. If the question is how to interpret or understand modern political polling, a very good place to start is the Mystery Pollster site. In addition to collecting US poll data, the site also has a nice FAQ that answers common questions about the interpretation of polls.

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
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      for reminding me of this site.  I wasn't thinking so much of myself, as I know this material reasonably well.  Was thinking more about something that would help people who hadn't studied survey research understand and evaluate polling results or other uses of survey methods in politics.

      A comment that I hear over and over again--and that kills me--is "Oh, I don't believe in polls.  If they ask the right questions, they can get whatever answer they want."  Might be true, in principle, but shows cluelessness re how professional polling works and what honest survey researchers do to make sure that their research instruments are not mechanisms to produce results that are consistent w/ their hypotheses.

      Also kills me when politicians make remarks such as this.  Of course, I know what they are doing, but I wonder why nobody ever says, "You know, Senator, when you say that polls don't mean anything, you are brushing aside the opinions of the American people.  Do you think that's right?"

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