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Related to polling: polling station, polling day
one of the basic techniques for concrete social research. It is applied in sociological, social-psychological, economic, demographic, and other research. In the polling process, each member of a group chosen for the poll is requested to respond in writing to questions posed in the form of a questionnaire.
The questions may be in open form (free answers—for example, “What do you plan to do after your service in the army?”) or closed form (the answer consists of a choice from among several statements suggested in the questionnaire). The open questions provide much deeper information, but in many questionnaires they lead to significant difficulties in processing because of nonstandard answers.
The questions may be divided according to content into objective (concerning education, age, salary, and other facts about the respondent; in this type of poll it is necessary to account for subjective distortions in the answers) and subjective (which reveal the social-psychological makeup of the respondent and his approach to his living conditions and to certain events). As a rule, the answers to questions are anonymous.
The fundamental rules in the format of a questionnaire are the following: a logical sequence of subjects should be touched upon by the questions; the interest of the respondent should grow from question to question; overly complicated or intimate questions should be absent; the formulation of questions should correspond to the educational level of the respondent group; all possible variant answers should be provided for in closed questions; and the overall number of questions should not be too great, since the polling process should not tire or irritate the respondent.
Polling may be conducted in three ways: the questionnaire is filled out individually in the presence of the poll-taker; filling out by a group in the presence of the poll-taker, when the respondents fill the questionnaires out independently and turn them in simultaneously in order to retain anonymity; and postal polling, in which the questionnaire is delivered or mailed to the home and is then returned by mail by the respondent. In order to increase the effectiveness of the questionnaire before a mass poll, a test poll (50–100 questionnaires) is usually conducted to weed out unsatisfactory (unworkable) questions.
REFERENCESAndreeva, G. M. Sovremennaia burzhuaznaia empiricheskaia so-tsiologiia. Moscow, 1965. Chapter 3.
Grushin, B. A. Mneniia o mire i mir mnenii. Moscow, 1967.
Goode, W., and P. Hatt. Methods in Social Research. New York-Toronto-London, 1952.
IU. B. SAMSONOV
polling(1) A communications technique that determines when a terminal is ready to send data. The computer continually interrogates its connected terminals in a round robin sequence. If a terminal has data to send, it sends back an acknowledgment and the transmission begins. Contrast with an interrupt-driven system, in which the terminal generates a signal when it has data to send.
(2) A technique that continually interrogates a peripheral device to see if it has data to transfer. For example, if a mouse button was pressed or if data are available at a communications port. Contrast with event-driven or interrupt-driven techniques, in which the operating system generates a signal and interrupts the system.