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ERIC Number: ED558562
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan-16
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Using Polls in Education Reporting: Reporter Guide
Wieder, Ben
Education Writers Association
Every four years, public opinion polls become a national obsession in the months leading up to the presidential election, with new results breathlessly reported nearly every day. But polling is not exclusively the province of political reporters. A handful of national surveys released each year focus on education, including the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll about public attitudes toward education and MetLife's annual survey of teachers. There is also often polling done for statewide education-related elections, such as ballot measures or state superintendent races, and, periodically, by news outlets and advocacy organizations on various education-related issues. Newly released polling data can make for illuminating stories about where the public stands on key education issues and can be a valuable resource for future story ideas and contextual information. Not all polling data are equal, though. While you do not need a statistics degree to figure out which polls are worth your time, you do need to approach a new poll with the same skepticism you bring to the rest of your reporting. Think of it like an interview--if there are questions the poll tries to gloss over or does not answer, it could be hiding something. [This guide was made possible in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]
Education Writers Association. 2122 P Street NW Suite 201, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 202-452-9830; Fax: 202-452-9837; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Writers Association