Monday, February 17, 2014

NPR's "Will Afghan polling data help alleviate election fraud?"

This story details the application of American election polling techniques to Afghanistan's fledgling democracy.

Essentially, international groups are attempting to poll Afghans prior to their April 2014 presidential elections as to combat voter fraud and raise awareness about the election.

However, how do researchers go about collecting data in a country where few people have telephones, many people are illiterate, and just about everyone is weary about strangers approaching them and asking them sensitive questions about their political opinions? The story also touches on issues of social desirability as well as the decisions  a researcher makes regarding the kinds of response options to use in survey research.

I think that this would be a good story to share with a cranky undergraduate research methods class that thinks that collecting data from the undergraduate convenience sample is really, really hard. Less snarkily, this may be useful when teaching multiculturalism or psychometrics.

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