As we approach the millennium, we find ourselves in a world that places ever greater weight and significance on the outcome of polls, surveys, and market research. The advent of modern polling began with the use of scientific sampling in the mid‐1930s and has progressed vastly beyond the initial techniques and purposes of the early practitioners such as George Gallup, Elmo Roper, and Archibald Crossley. In today's environment, the computer is an integral part of most commercial survey work, as are the efforts by academic and nonprofit enterprises. It should be noted that the distinction between the use of the words “poll” and “survey” is somewhat arbitrary, with the mass media seeming to prefer “polling,” and with academia selecting “survey research.” However, searching online systems will yield differing results, hence this author's inclusion of both terms in the title of this article.
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