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Health Poll Search: Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What is Health Poll Search?
  2. What kinds of surveys are included in Health Poll Search?
  3. Does Health Poll Search include the results of Internet surveys?
  4. How often is Health Poll Search updated?
  5. How confident can I be in the results reported in these studies?
  6. What about other types of error? How do I know which polls to trust?
  7. How do I correctly cite the polling data I find in Health Poll Search?
  8. How do I look for a poll that I know was conducted by a particular organization?
  9. How do I look for a poll that was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation?
  10. How do I look at trends over time for particular questions?
  11. What can I do if I want to know how people with different incomes or different levels of education or men vs. women answered this question?
  12. Why doesn’t every question under a subtopic always match the topic exactly?
  13. Why do some of the questions under the topics “Women’s Health” and “Race/Ethnicity and Health” seem unrelated to women or specific racial or ethnic groups?
  14. How do I get in touch with the Kaiser Family Foundation about Health Poll Search?
  15. How do I get in touch with the Roper Center?
  16. Is this a free service?
  17. What topics are covered by Health Poll Search?

For more information, or questions that are not covered above, contact the Kaiser Polls staff.

1. What is Health Poll Search?

Health Poll Search is a searchable archive of public opinion questions on health issues that allows users to know what Americans think about health issues, as well as what Americans have thought about health issues over time.

Health Poll Search is the result of a partnership between the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut. The Roper Center houses an archive of more than 500,000 public opinion questions dating back to 1935. The Health Poll Search archive holds approximately 85,000 questions on health issues such as Medicare, Medicaid, the uninsured, women’s health, and HIV/AIDS. Response percentages and source information are provided for all questions.

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2. What kinds of surveys are included in Health Poll Search?

Health Poll Search includes data from all health-related questions asked in surveys in the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut archive with U.S. national adult samples or samples of registered voters, women, African Americans, or any subpopulation that constitutes a large segment of the national adult population. The collection goes back to 1935 and is updated daily.

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3. Does Health Poll Search include the results of Internet surveys?

No. The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut does have the results of some Internet surveys, but they are not at present being entered into the Roper Center database that Health Poll Search searches. (See Statement About Internet Polls by NCPP Polling Review Board).

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4. How often is Health Poll Search updated?

When you conduct a Search by Topics or Search by Keyword, you are conducting a search of all health-related questions in the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut archive. The archive goes back to 1935 and is updated daily by the Roper Center.

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5. How confident can I be in the results reported in these studies?

Confidence in results is related to many factors. The margin of sampling error, related to the sample size (the number of people the survey researchers spoke to), is one commonly used indication of how confident you can be that if the researchers had been able to ask the same question of every person instead of just those sampled, they would have gotten similar responses.For example, if a survey was conducted with 1,000 American adults, it would have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. This means that if the researchers had been able to interview every American adult, instead of just the 1,000 sampled, the researchers could be 95% confident that the results they would have gotten from talking to every American adult would be no more than 3 points above or 3 points below the response percentage they got from interviewing only the sample (1,000 adults).As a general rule of thumb, if 2,000 or more people were asked a question, the margin of sampling error is around+/-2 percentage points; for 800-1,000 it’s around +/-3 percentage points; for 500-700 it’s around +/- 4 points; for 400 it’s around +/-5; for 300 it’s around +/-6 points; for 200 it’s around +/- 7 points; and for 100 it’s around +/-10 points.

In addition to sampling error, surveys are subject to other forms of error, such as from nonresponse (people who did not answer the survey question — bias is related to how different people are who did not answer the survey questions from those who did answer the survey questions), question wording (such as ambiguous or confusing questions, or questions with words that some respondents may not have understood), and context effects (such as when respondents may be “clued in” to an answer by other questions that were just asked before that question).

For an explanation of how confident you should be in the results of particular surveys, see The National Council on Public Polls’ “20 Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results”.

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6. What about other types of error? How do I know which polls to trust?

For an explanation of interpreting poll results, see The National Council on Public Polls’ “20 Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results”.

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7. How do I correctly cite the polling data I find in Health Poll Search?

The recommended citation for polling data includes the name of the organization that conducted the poll, the interview date(s), the sponsor of the poll, if any, and the name and date of the source document, if any. We also ask that you add, “Data provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut.” For example, a citation might read, “Pew Research Center survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates from July 19 – July 23, 2000. Data provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut.”

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8. How do I look for a poll that I know was conducted by a particular organization?

To search by organizations, you must search through Search by Keyword. Use the Organization drop-down menu. For example, if you want to search for a poll that you know was conducted by ABC News on Medicare, you would enter “Medicare” in the “Search for” box, and then would select “ABC News” in the Organization drop-down menu.

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9. How do I look for a poll that was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation?

To search for a survey that was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, you must search through Search by Keyword. Select the Kaiser Family Foundation radio button to limit your search to Kaiser Family Foundation surveys only.

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10. How do I look at trends over time for particular questions?

To find the same question but asked at a different time, go to Search by Keyword and enter some of the exact question text in the “Search for:” box.This search should identify all previous times when that exact questionwas asked.

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11. What can I do if I want to know how people with different incomes or different levels of education or men vs. women answered this question?

Health Poll Search is only able to provide overall results for the total population that was asked a particular question. To look at subgroups such as different racial or income groups, you can contact the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut and request a customized analysis (a fee is charged based on the amount of time it takes to run the data), or in some cases you can pay a fee for the dataset and then use a statistical program to determine response percentages for these groups. To contact the Roper Center, email rcweb@ropercenter.uconn.edu.

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12. Why doesn’t every question under a subtopic always match the topic exactly?

The Search by Topics feature conducts pre-set searches (similar to those conducted in the Search by Keyword feature) that must look for particular words within questions. To getthe maximum number of relevant questions, a few unrelated questions may also appear.

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13. Why do some of the questions under the topics “Women’s Health” and “Race/Ethnicity and Health” seem unrelated to women or specific racial or ethnic groups?

Sometimes there are questions about general health topics that are only asked of women, or of members of specific racial or ethnic groups. Therefore, there may be items under the subtopic “Blacks/African-Americans and Health” that are about a general health topic, such as diet, but they appear under this subtopic because they were only asked of African-Americans. When you view details such about a particular question, the source information that appears below the question/response percentages will tell you what group was asked that particular question (such as all adults, or only African-Americans, or only women).

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14. How do I get in touch with the Kaiser Family Foundation about Health Poll Search?

For general information about the Kaiser Family Foundation, visit the website. If you have questions specific to Health Poll Search, contact the Kaiser Polls staff through our contact form.

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15. How do I get in touch with the Roper Center?

You can get more information about the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut by visiting their web site or contacting rcweb@opinion.isi.uconn.edu.

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16. Is this a free service?

Yes, Health Poll Search is a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation.The mission of the Kaiser Family Foundation is to provide timely, reliable, and non-partisan information on national health issues to policymakers, the media, and the general public. To advance that mission, the Foundation has established kaisernetwork.org.

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17. What topics are covered by Health Poll Search?

All health-related questions in the Roper Center archive are includedwhen you use the Search by Keyword feature. Search by Topic includespre-set searches for 21 different topics and more than 100 subtopics. View a complete list of the topics and subtopics.

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