Polls & Survey Training


About this Lesson

Sarah Smith-Frigerio
Doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Communication,
Missouri School of Journalism
University of Missouri

There are many reasons why student journalists may want to report on the results of a poll or survey, or even conduct their own survey or poll. Polls can introduce an important issue to readers, help readers to better understand the issue, and even allow readers to explore how others in their community feel about an issue. When journalists report on or create a survey for reporting purposes, there are several things they must keep in mind to make sure they are giving their readers accurate and objective information about the survey.

What you will learn

After completing this unit, you should have a basic understanding of:

  • How polls and surveys can be used in a news story
  • The things to keep in mind when reporting on a poll or survey
  • How to craft and conduct your own valid poll
  • The basic methods of analyzing your survey results
  • The things to consider reporting the findings of your own poll or survey.

How the lesson works

First of all, this is an asynchronous lesson unit, which means no live events are scheduled for this lesson. You can complete learning activities at your own pace whenever is convenient for you. Despite the asynchronous nature, the learning tasks are organized to help you succeed.

To be successful in this unit, please complete the following tasks:

• Watch the lecture.
• Take the quiz to test your own understanding.  This will help you to strengthen the concepts you just learned.
Optional: Due to the amount of content to be covered in a single unit, we encourage you read these additional resources. Some of the quiz questions might come from the readings in Additional Resources section.

Watch the Lecture



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 Take the Quiz


Direction: Some of the questions might from the readings in Additional Resources below


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Lesson Resources

Lecture Script: Download it here

Printable Quiz: Polls & Surveys

ASNE Classroom Resources

Lessons: Polls and Surveys

Additional Resources

Journalists’ Resource, “Polling Fundamentals and Concepts: An Overview for Journalists.

The National Council on Public Polls, “20 Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results.

Pew Research Center, “Collecting Survey Data.

Survey Monkey, “Survey Sample Size.


Poll Daddy

Survey Gizmo

Survey Monkey




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