Much of our survey research work is focused on better understanding the attitudes, values and behaviors of the American public. Learn more about how surveys are developed and conducted by exploring the survey methodology topics below, reading reports about methodological issues and browsing frequently asked questions. Behind every survey, several decisions are made about how to select people to interview, conduct the survey and ask the questions. All of these decisions impact the survey results.
Pew Research Center is a charter member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative.
Frequently asked questions
- Why am I never called to be polled?
- Can I volunteer to be polled?
- Why don’t your surveys ever reflect the opinions of people I know?
- Why should I participate in surveys?
- What good are polls?
- I’m on a “Do Not Call” list. Doesn’t that prevent you from calling me?
- Do pollsters have a code of ethics? If so, what is in the code?
- How are your polls different from market research?
- More frequently asked questions
Pew Research Center (“the Center”) is a non-partisan fact tank whose mission is to generate a foundation of facts that enriches the public dialogue and supports sound decision-making. As part of this mission to inform the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping the United States and the world, the Center engages in public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research.
To ensure that the results of our polling and research activities are as scientific and as accurate as possible, it is critical that our methods use representative samples. As the proportion of people who rely solely or mostly on mobile phones for their communications needs continues to grow, sampling both landline and mobile phones helps ensure the accuracy of our research. At the same time, the Center appreciates the importance of complying with applicable laws and regulatory requirements, which in some circumstances limit the manner or form of communications with individuals whom we seek to contact for polling purposes.
Our polling policy reflects these dual considerations. We strive to ensure the scientific accuracy of our polling methods while, at the same time, complying with applicable laws, including requirements under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).
Our policy and practice is to comply with the TCPA by using only manually dialed calls to mobile phones, and we require our vendors to do the same. In addition, the telephones used for this purpose are stand-alone devices that are not connected to other devices or to the Internet. If you would like to learn more about the Center’s polling methods, please see the About and Survey Methodology pages on our website.
More information about polling methods