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What are opinion polls? Guidance on how to read opinion polls

The Research Society has produced this guidance to help individuals evaluate, understand and interpret opinion polls. This guidance is primarily for non-researchers who commission and/or use opinion polls.

Research Society Members can use it to support their understanding of the reporting rules outlined in the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour (the Code) and the Guideline on Reporting Research Findings.

The guidance covers:

  • Opinion polls – the key points including what is an opinion poll, what is sampling, how are samples representative, how are samples selected?
  • How are opinion polls conducted?
  • A checklist – ten questions to ask when evaluating opinion polls

Our thanks to our strategic partner MRS in the UK whose own guidance on this topic was the basis for the development of this document.

This guidance is available on The Research Society website here.

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The Research Society is the peak body for research, insights and analytics professionals in Australia. It has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, client-side organisations, the non-profit and government sectors, support services as well as institutions and the academic community. As well as over 2,000 individual members, the Research Society has 125+ company and client partners, with the number continuing to grow. The Research Society research professionals and company partners commit to and are regulated by the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour.