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Eric Shiraev and Richard Sobel (2006). People and Their Opinions. Thinking Critically About Public Opinion. New York: Pearson Longman, 368 pp., ISBN 0–321–07898–5.

Eric Shiraev and Richard Sobel (2006). People and Their Opinions. Thinking Critically About Public Opinion. New York: Pearson Longman, 368 pp., ISBN 0–321–07898–5.

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS First, the surveys upon which the book is based begin in 1992 and go through 2004. It is quite possible that American values in 1992, coming at the end of a long and unnerving financial downturn, were unusually risk averse. So are young non-voters today really more thrill seeking than they were in the 1960s, for example, or more consumerist than in the 1970s? More importantly, it is difficult to interpret the results because the methods are not sufficiently well documented. A 600-question battery of values questions could produce quality data, or it could generate considerable respondent fatigue. We are not told how the surveys were conducted, what incentives were used to secure participation. Although we see a few sets of questions that are combined to form a value scale, we are given no measures of reliability, and in most cases we do not even have the questions that were used. In the end, these value scales are projected onto a two-dimensional plot that appears to be the most important dimensions to emerge from a principle component analysis, presumably of the scale scores measuring each value. Coming away from this book, I was left hoping that
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