A Pre-Election Survey in a Semi-Literate Society

Birmingham, W B.; Jahoda, G.
June 1955
Public Opinion Quarterly;Summer55, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p140
Academic Journal
The article presents a pre-election survey in a semi-literate society. Public opinion survey techniques have become very useful instruments for the administrator of the now rapidly developing under-developed areas. In this article, the authors describe some of the special problems involved in a pre-election survey done in Africa. They conclude that, though the difficulties are different from those facing researchers in Western society, the techniques developed in literate countries can be applied in radically different environments. Public opinion surveys among the indigenous populations of African territories present problems, which are intriguing but as yet very little explored. Self-governing institutions are being established in some of these territories more rapidly than are educational institutions and the ballot-paper is already in the grasp of many a hand that has never held a pen. This inquiry was on too small a scale to bear the weight of much generalization but it does suggest that the difficulties of making public opinion surveys among predominantly illiterate African populations are not insuperable.


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