Link, Henry C.; Freiberg, A. D.
March 1942
Public Opinion Quarterly;Spring42, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p87
Academic Journal
Consumer surveys and their off-shoot, polls of public opinion, represent one of the most important developments in the field of scientific psychology. As measures of the mass mind and mass behavior they have progressed in recent years from the crude straw vote to the status of a scientific instrument. The purpose of this article is to point out possible weaknesses in these polls themselves and to illustrate methods by which these weaknesses have been or may be overcome. The article includes latest Psychological Barometer, a nation-wide poll of urban public opinion and buying habits begun by the Psychological Corporation in 1932 and made every two or three months since. The basic criterion for validity, however, is behavior. All expedients for measuring validity on a verbal level point to the necessity of establishing it with reference to actions largely non-verbal. To achieve such validity may be difficult, especially in a democracy which itself seems to exist so largely on the verbal plane.


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