Tag Archives: pew research center

When to quote survey results: How to judge quality and recognize red flags

Courtney Kennedy (Photo courtesy of the Pew Research Center)

Journalists often include survey results in a story to offer a sense of public opinion. But not all surveys are created equal, and some should be avoided at all costs. 

In a recent phone interview, Courtney Kennedy, vice president of survey research and innovation at the Pew Research Center, a “nonpartisan fact tank,” shared advice with me on how to judge survey quality. 

A longer version of our conversation, which was edited for length and clarity, can be found at The Freelance Center. 

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Pew releases survey on interaction between scientists, public

On Sunday, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey on the interaction between scientists, the media and the public. The survey revealed how scientists engage with the public, and how different demographics view scientific issues.

Image by  Andrew Huff via flickr.

Image by Andrew Huff via flickr.

Pew released the report in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the findings were presented at the AAAS 2015 Annual Meeting on Sunday. The report included feedback from 3,784 AAAS scientists, and it is the second in a series of surveys canvassing both scientists and the American public on the interface of scientific data and public understanding.

“How Scientists Engage the Public,” reveals that most scientists – 87 percent – feel they should participate in the public policy process and in relevant debates about science and technology. Not surprisingly, almost all of them said they engaged on some level with journalists or members of the public.

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Health dominates news like never before

The latest numbers from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism show health dominating the news hole with a 37 percent share of total coverage. It’s the highest number since Pew started tracking these things in 2007, topping the 32 percent mark it reached in August and September of last year. The coverage was driven by broadcast talk shows, where it took up an impressive 80 percent of the total news hole.

Pew: Health gets most coverage again

This week’s coverage numbers (three-page pdf) from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism show health care taking up more news space than any other topic, as it has for six of the past seven weeks. During that time, only health reform advocate Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death managed to push health from the headlines.

Last week’s health coverage, like that of weeks past, has been largely fueled by cable television and radio talk shows — it filled a quarter or more of the news hole in those media while only making up 14 percent of total coverage overall.

Pew: Health care coverage still tops news

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has found that health care coverage filled more available news space than any other topic (PDF) for a third straight week.

Health coverage is down from the high of 25 percent it reached two weeks ago and the 19 percent it registered last week, but at 16 percent it still attracted more attention than the economy (which hit 15 percent). Health coverage numbers were again buttressed by heavy exposure on cable news (37 percent) and talk radio (33 percent), with debate in those outlets revolving around acrimonious town hall meetings.