Technology, including communication media, is developing very fast. As information technology develops, it becomes easier for us to express our opinions and hence the power of public opinion in our society in politics and business grows. Even though it has become more difficult to get quality survey results due to increasing concerns about privacy invasion and data infringement, the demand for public opinion research is increasing.
It is true that survey response rates have been decreasing, but we are experimenting with various ways to overcome this. We are now beginning to use recorded data or register data to complement surveys. Also, the analysis of big data collected in various ways gives us additional insight to help us understand survey results. Of course, big data analysis or recorded data cannot replace surveys, because people’s intention or attitude is difficult to know through those data.
New technology also helps us to reduce the burden of collecting data. For example, we don’t need to ask where the respondents are now in order to understand their opinion or preference. Their location can be collected through GIS technology and gives background information about answers. For example, a person’s opinion about a particular facility can be interpreted together with his location. With the utilization of location data, social network activities, and other recorded data, we only need to ask a few questions. So, this development of new media and technology enables us to understand more about people and our society with fewer questions.
So, we have challenges and opportunities together. We need to understand the implications of these developments and properly utilize them in our understanding our society. This is why we are having this special theme for this year’s ANPOR Conference.
When we look back upon the past, new communication media brought us changes in the way we conduct public opinion polls. With the advent of the telephone, our survey mode switched from face-to-face interviews to telephone interviews. With the advent of Internet, web surveys have become widely used. Of course, the new mode does not mean better quality. It shows that we are always looking for ways of understanding society with less effort. Also, the areas that public opinion research results could contribute to have expanded.
So, the challenge facing us is to find out how we can develop future survey modes, which are easier to implement and which will also bring us better quality results.
In order to accomplish this, we need to work together to share our experiences. We have a relatively short history of utilizing public opinion research. But sometimes it will be easier to try a new methodology because we don’t have such a long history.
We hope you will join us in our knowledge production community as you conduct your own public opinion research, both by participating in our annual ANPOR Conference, which is in Shanghai this November, and by continuing to read AJPOR and submitting your own work. Together, we will address the challenges and make the most of the opportunities that rapidly changing technology have given us.
Sung Kyum CHO is a professor in the Department of Communication at Chungnam National University and director of the Center for Asian Public Opinion Research & Collaboration Initiative (CAPORCI). He was the first president of the Asian Network for Public Opinion Research (ANPOR). He has also been president of the Korean Association for Survey Research (KASR) and is currently the president of the Korean Society for Journalism and Communication Studies (KSJCS). He is part of a team that has just started conducting the Korean Academic Multimode Open Survey (KAMOS). He is also an associate editor and publisher for the Asian Journal for Public Opinion Research (AJPOR).
He can be reached at Chungnam National University, Department of Communication 99, Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-764, Republic of Korea or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jantima KHEOKAO is associate professor in the Department of Strategic Communication at University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. She is an incumbent president of the Asian Network for Public Opinion Research (ANPOR). She is also an associate editor for the Asian Journal for Public Opinion Research (AJPOR).
She can be reached at Department of Strategic Communication, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, 126/1 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Din Daeng District, Bangkok 10400, Thailand or at email@example.com