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16 October 2014
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Opinion Polls, Surveys, Questionnaires, Votes and 'Straw Polls'

Vox Pops

It is important to remember that vox pops are a tool of illustration, NOT a tool of research.  That must be reflected in the language we use to describe them:

Avoid terminology such as: “We’ve been out on the streets to find out what the people of Manchester think about this…”

Better would be:  “Here’s what some passing Mancunians thought about this…”

We should think carefully about whether the subject matter is appropriate for vox pops and how asking the question itself – perhaps in the street, without warning – might reflect on the BBC.  We should also think about which people are being approached and why – and how, in a public place, that might be perceived.

On politics and other matters of public policyi, vox pops can be used to illustrate a range of views or – occasionally - a single view.   We can either use a spread of opinions, reflecting, in a balanced way, the different strands of argument, OR, where appropriate, present an accurate and proportionate reflection of those whose opinions we have sought.  Either way, we must not imply the samples are representative and we should be explicit in describing their purpose and limitations.
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Guidance on Opinion Polls, Surveys, Questionnaires, Votes and 'Straw Polls'



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