Frequently Asked Questions
To read answers to these frequently asked questions, click an item below or scroll down.
- Did you receive a letter, email, or phone call from us inviting you to complete a survey?
- How do I know the invitation I got is real?
- I got a survey invitation. How do I get started?
- I got a survey invitation, but I can’t find it. Can I still participate?
- I did not get an invitation. Can I still participate?
- Who is eligible to participate?
- Can anyone in my home take the survey?
- What are your surveys about?
- What kind of information do you collect?
- Are you trying to sell me something?
- How will you protect my privacy?
- Why should I help?
- Who uses your research?
- How long are your surveys?
- Who is Pew Research Center?
- Are you a Democratic or Republican group?
- I still have questions. How can I contact you?
Did you receive a letter, email, or phone call from us inviting you to complete a survey?
We hope you will complete the survey. The most important part of all our surveys is YOU. Each of our surveys ask thousands of people of various ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds to tell us what they think about a topic. We summarize what we hear and share it through our website.
All kinds of people then use the information you provided to make decisions and form their own opinions. For example, information you provide could be used by students for learning, by the government to make laws, on the news to keep people up-to-date, and by local groups to help communities.
How do I know the invitation I got is real?
The best way to know if an invitation to a Pew Research Center study is real is to look for what it is asking.
- We will never ask for money or try to sell you something.
- We will never ask for your social security number or bank account information.
- We will never try to change your opinion.
If you are still unsure if your invitation is real, please reach out. Email us at PewSurveys@pewresearch.org.
I got a survey invitation. How do I get started?
Each survey has different instructions. Please follow the instructions in the invitation.
I got a survey invitation, but I can’t find it. Can I still participate?
If the survey is still going on, then yes! Email us at PewSurveys@pewresearch.org. We will send you a new invitation and instructions on how to participate.
I did not get an invitation. Can I still participate?
Unfortunately, no. Only people who are randomly selected and contacted by Pew Research Center can participate. Random selection is important to make sure the results are accurate. Learn more about random sampling in this video.
Who is eligible to participate?
If you received a survey invitation, you are eligible to participate.
Can anyone in my home take the survey?
Each survey has instructions about who in your home should take the survey. Please follow those instructions.
What are your surveys about?
Each of our surveys focuses on a different topic. Some topics that we have asked about in the past include the economy, work, family, technology, religion, and social media.
What kind of information do you collect?
Most of our questions ask about your opinions and beliefs. We also ask general questions about you, such as age or race. We ask these questions to make sure we collect information from people of all backgrounds.
We will never ask you to provide your social security number, credit card information, or bank account numbers.
Are you trying to sell me something?
No! We will never try to sell you anything. We will also never sell or give your identifying information to anyone outside of our research team.
We collect answers from thousands of people and summarize them. Only a few research team members will ever know which person said what. We will never publish your name, email, phone number, or address.
How will you protect my privacy?
We follow a variety of security measures to make sure your answers stay private. Specifically:
- Any information you provide is saved on secure computers or in locked drawers. Only a small number of members on the project team have access to your answers.
- We limit the amount of personally identifying information* or PII we collect to the minimum we need to accurately conduct the survey. In other words, if we don’t need it, we won’t ask.
- When we ask for PII, we store your survey answers separately from this information. This means people who have your name can’t see how you answered the questions and vice versa.
- Once we no longer need your PII, it is permanently deleted.
- We never make your PII such as your name or address public. But, we do publish de-identified datasets on our website. This means that we will publish the answers you gave, but they will be anonymous. In other words, no one will know who said what you said.
In addition to the specific policies above, we are a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research’s Transparency Initiative. As such, we follow their Code of Ethics, including the code to protect survey participants’ privacy.
* By “personal identifying information” (PII), we mean information that could personally identify you, such as your name, address, email address, geographic location, or the names of members of your household.
Why should I help?
Your voice matters. We listen to people of different ages, races, and backgrounds. We sum up what we hear and share it with leaders to inform decisions. You will also receive some money to thank you for your time.
Who uses your research?
We provide information that leaders and others use to make decisions and form opinions. Information we provide is often used by students for learning, by the government to make laws, on the news to keep people up-to-date, and by local groups to help communities.
How long are your surveys?
Each survey is different. Your invitation will include an estimate for the survey you have been asked to complete.
Who is Pew Research Center?
We are a staff of 170 people. We give Americans a chance to share how they feel about what’s going on near them and across the U.S. Learn more about us at www.pewresearch.org/about.
Are you a Democratic or Republican group?
No! We do not side with any political party, and we don’t take any positions on issues. We work hard to write neutral, fair questions. We collect and provide facts that all people and parties can trust.
I still have questions. How can I contact you?
Email us at PewSurveys@pewresearch.org.