Opinion Poll

Opinion polls are used extensively in the modern world.  Advertisers, politicians, businessmen, special interest groups, social scientists, news organizations, and government departments all use polls to find out what people think about certain issues.  The information that comes from a poll is not very useful, however, until it is put into visual form.  Graphs are commonly used to illustrate the results of a poll.  They show the differences and similarities between two or more groups of people.  Mathematics plays an important part in producing such a graph;  raw data must be changed into numbers or percentages before it can be used to illustrate what has been discovered about people’s attitudes and opinions.

For this project, choose two topics, make a list of specific questions and interview a number of people (the more the better).  After collecting a sufficient amount of data, you will organize it, calculate percentages, produce graphs, and try to draw some conclusions about your findings.  Here are the details of the assignment.

Prayer in public schools
Election races/politicians
The economy
The president
Students’/children's rights
“Back to basics” in school
Attitudes about foreign countries
Taxes/social security/federal deficit
Environmental issues
Capital punishment
Crime prevention
Issues in education
Professional sports
AIDS education
Sex education

Girls under/over 13
Boys under/over 13
Adult women/men
Married/unmarried people
College students
Students in your school
Students from other schools
Ethnic groups

III.Write questions
a.Make the questions short and to the point
b.Word each question carefully so the answer can be specific
c.You need not write very many questions; four (two for each topic) is enough.  The secret of a useful poll is to survey a lot of people with a few well-written questions.
d.Tell the people being questioned what the response choices are.  Questions should be worded so that these responses make sense.  Here are four types of responses that might be used:
  • Yes or no
  • Agree or disagree
  • On a scale from 1-10
  • Choice of four or five possible answers like “poor-fair-good-excellent” or “strongly agree-agree-no opinion-disagree-strongly disagree.”
  • Multiple choice
e.Questions should be reviewed by me before beginning the poll.

IV.Graph the results. 
a.Be creative and try to find as many different ways as possible to show the results of your work.
b.Calculate percentages that show how each group reacted to each question.
c.When your work is finished, make a classroom display of it for others to see.  You may also be asked to make an oral presentation.

1.  Decide on two topics to cover in your poll.  They may be about local, national, or world issues and events.  Some examples are as follows:
II.  Choose a polling population.
a.  Break the population into two groups that will make for interesting comparisons.  (More than two groups makes this project quite complicated.
b.  Question at least 25 people from each group to make the pol meaningful.  Some examples of group categories are as follows: