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Re-opening closed questions: respondents' elaborations on categorical answers in standardized interviews.
Madison, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for Demography and Ecology,1993 Aug. 13 p. (CDE Working Paper No. 93-24)The participants in a survey interview draw on an interactional substrate of conversational skills and practices to achieve each answer, much as other pairs of interactants involved in standardized, formatted question-and-answer activities (Maynard and Marlaire, 1992). In most cases this process occurs smoothly, in a familiar sequence of "question-answer-(receipt)-entry of answer", or, if necessary, "question-answer-probe-answer-(receipt)-entry". The participants reach an accountable answer, the interviewer records it, and they move on to the next question. Arriving at an answer to one question is required for proceeding to the next one. The focus of this study is a phenomenon occurring at a particular point in that sequence. The cases presented here are examples of a respondent producing talk that is one of the offered answer choices for the question at hand, and then proceeding to engage in further talk after that answer. What kinds of actions are these, and more importantly, what consequences do they have for the collection of the data in the interview? (excerpt)
SOCIETY. 1997 Mar-Apr; 34(3):31-5.The author discusses the undercount problem and considers whether and how the U.S. census can compensate for data shortcomings. Various questions about data collection, data quality, political considerations, and public opinion are considered. (ANNOTATION)
[Unpublished] 1986. Paper presented at the Population Association of America Annual Meeting, San Francisco, April 3-5, 1986. 28,  p.Based on 1980 census data, this paper examines the demographic characteristics of recent immigrants to Los Angeles, specifically focusing on Mexican immigration. In 1980, 1/4 of all foreign-born persons in the US lived in California. Results of a 1983 Urban Institute poll of public attitudes toward the impacts of immigration in southern California and the consequences of US immigration reform are also presented. Over 22% of Los Angeles County's total population was foreign-born in 1980. Public opinion shows that: 1) over 65% of all respondents predicted that the size of the undocumented population in southern California would increase over the next 5 to 10 years, 2) 75% thought that most undocumented immigrants would remain in southern California permanently, 3) 88% described the situation as very or somewhat serious, and 4) 70% felt the influx of illegal immigrants had a very or somewhat unfavorable effect on the state as a whole. Although the survey respondents were about evenly divided on whether illegal immigrants took jobs away from other residents, a 69% majority thought that undocumented workers tended to bring down wages in some occupations. Congress has responded to similar concerns throughout the US by proposing a comprehensive reform of US immigration laws. Results of the Urban Institute regression analysis find no significant relationship between black unemployment rates and the concentration of Hispanics. However, there is some evidence of wage depression attributable to immigrants. California's major challenge in the future will not be deciding how to provide for the economic integration of the millions of immigrants already in the state and the millions more to come, but rather learning how to absorb these immigrants into the mainstream of society.
Trends and patterns in the attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the United States, 1972-1978.
Research in Nursing and Health. 1985 Sep; 8(3):219-225.The attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the US were studied for the period 1972-78. Purposes of the study were to: 1) analyze the trends and patterns in attitudes toward legal abortion in that period; 2) assess the possible effect of selected demographic, socioeconomic, religious, and fertility variables on attitudes towards legal abortion; and 3) determine the relationship between attitudes toward abortion and attitudes toward selected related issues such as premarital sex, sex education in public schools, birth control for teens and for anyone who desires it, and woman's role in the home, business, and politics. The independent variables found to have an effect on attitude toward abortion were: age, sex, marital status, geographic region, size of place, education, occupational prestige, women's employment status, religious preference, denomination, strength of religious preference, frequence of attendance at religious services, number of siblings, number of children, number of children expected in the future, and ideal family size. The data were drawn from the General Social Surveys (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center each year between 1972-78. A total of 10,652 respondents completed the interviews. Attitudes toward abortion were derived from combining the responses to 6 items which required the respondents to indicate whether or not it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion. Using the Guttman scalogram analysis, responses to the abortion items were tested for scalability and were found to scale well. The single largest group of respondents approved for legal abortion for all of the 6 reasons mentioned and the next largest group approved it only for the hard reasons (woman's health, rape, and possible child deformity). Trends in attitudes toward legal abortion were analyzed by percentage distribution. 2 major shifts in trend were noted in the attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the abovementioned period. In 1973, the percentage of approval rose considerably for each of the 6 reasons. In 1978, the 2nd shift occurred when the percentage of approval declined sharply for all but the reasons of woman's health and rape. Both shifts followed important judicial and congressional decisions made in the US with respect to the abortion issue. Generally speaking, younger, white, never-married respondents, and those who lived in the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic, and New England regions, and in the large central cities were slightly more favorable toward abortion than were their counterparts. Education proved to be the most important socioeconomic variable in explaining the variability of attitude toward abortion. Jews showed the most favorable attitude and Catholics the least favorable attitudes toward abortion. Those who came from small families, or who had small families themselves, or who favored small family size ideal were more favorable toward abortion than those connected to larger families. Significant positive associations were found between attitudes toward premarital sex, sex education in public schools, availability of birth control information for teens, woman's role in the home, business, and politics, and attitudes toward abortion. Variability in attitudes toward abortion among white adults in the US between 1972-78 was best explained by the frequency of attendance at religious services combined with the variables of education, family size ideal, attitude toward available of birth control information to teens, attitude toward sex education in public schools, and attitude toward women's role in the home, business, and politics. (author's modified)