University unveils series of courses in partnership with Quinnipiac Poll

November 03, 2021

Student being taught at the Quinnipiac Poll

Quinnipiac students will have the unique opportunity to better understand the intricacies of polling from one of the most renowned polling institutes in the country in a new series of courses this Spring — without ever having to leave campus.

The university has introduced a new course, “Polling and Politics: A Quinnipiac Signature Experience,” to teach students basic survey design and how to design new Quinnipiac Poll questions for future surveys.

“Polls more than ever are part of our public life,” said Scott McLean, professor of political science. “Yet, most citizens cannot easily distinguish between a reliable scientific poll and unscientific surveys that are really marketing or political persuasion in disguise.”

Leveraging the extensive expertise of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, the seminar will promote students’ data literacy by honing their skills in distinguishing between polling myths and polling realities.

“The best way to combat the myths surrounding polls, is for our students to have a practical experience designing polls and working with polling data, with the help of the experts at the Quinnipiac Poll,” said McLean. “No other university can offer students resources, experience and level of expertise quite like this. We don’t expect to turn our students into pollsters. Our goal is to help students become enlightened citizens who are life-long astute, data-literate consumers of polls, no matter what profession they enter.”

The course will emphasize how groups and diverse identities affect public opinion on global warming, vaccine hesitancy, abortion, intolerance, partisan polarization, the increasing public acceptance of political extremism and violence, among other issues.

“Gauging the pulse of the public in an informed, systematic, and meaningful way is an important technique for various industries,” said Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate provost for faculty affairs and a professor of political science. “From marketing professionals to public health officials to content creators, the nexus of public opinion, public policy and public behavior is a ubiquitous feature of public life. This exciting new collaboration provides our students with meaningful opportunities to develop and execute these skills.”

In addition to the course on public opinion polling, a course on marketing research will be offered.

“My role is to support the impressive teaching and learning pioneered by our faculty, while scaffolding university-wide resources to reinforce that innovation,” Brown-Dean said. “This endeavor amplifies the collaboration between our faculty, staff and students to create distinctive learning experiences that advance cohorts of excellence.”

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