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Surveys have become an indispensable tool for making decisions, especially when they are scientific and comprehensive in addressing the research objectives. For instance, before creating a TV campaign ad, it is imperative to survey to ensure that the expected feedback is aligned with real data. This essay attempts to review the strengths and weaknesses of the research questionnaire, panel studies, lab experiments, and field experiments. Also, the paper examines the steps a political strategist might take to maximize voter choice in terms of reinforcement and crystallization effects on a target constituency.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Different Survey Instruments
A research questionnaire is a very cost-effective, especially mobile or online survey. This instrument is also practical and simple to execute since the questions can be adjusted for any data set or subject. Other strengths of the questionnaire are its scalability in scientific analysis, the anonymity of the respondents, and flexibility in timing, irrespective of the aspect of a research topic or its complexity (Fowler, 2013). The research questionnaire has weaknesses such as the inability to avoid dishonesty from a respondent and limited conscientious feedback, especially when the participant decides to give false information. Due to variances in the level of interpretation and understanding of the research questions, it might be an uphill task to establish a trend. Also, some respondents might skip some questions (Fowler, 2013).
Panel studies capture the shifts and variations when different sets of data are cross-examined. Panel studies are also known to present a clear picture of variations in data collected on the same subject at different intervals to provide an insight into the dynamics behind the trends. Lastly, panel studies provide deep and voluminous data from a single subject. Therefore, it is easy to capture the aspects of emotions, opinions, and unique behavior in the subject at different intervals (Fowler, 2013). Panel studies have several weaknesses. To begin with, losing any panel member would distort the data set at any given time, especially when the panelist is a primary participant of a study that has stretched over a long period. Secondly, since human beings are programmed to socialize into a critical set, their behavior might seize to represent the general public (Fowler, 2013).
Since lab experiments are carried out in a controlled environment, the results on effect and cause are very accurate. Moreover, it is easy to replicate the results, especially when complex equipment is used. Lastly, the lab experiment saves time and is relatively cheaper than other complex tools (Fowler, 2013). Lab experiment has weaknesses such as low realism since it is done in an artificial environment. Moreover, the study may suffer from low ecological reality as it is hard to generalize in other similar situations. Lastly, there is a likelihood of biasness when the expectations of the experiment reprogram the behavior of the respondent (Fowler, 2013).
Field experiments are known to have good external validity since they are carried out in social settings. Also, the large scale setting in field experiments enables a researcher to use multiple variables without any fear of limitation to the research environment (Fowler, 2013). Due to their social setting, it is difficult to control the variables unlike the case with lab experiments. The experimental effect in field experiments may reduce the result validity. Moreover, field experiments are very expensive to conduct in terms of permits that might be required (Fowler, 2013).
Steps a Political Strategist Might Take to Maximize Voter Choice
In the current media-savvy political engagement of the 21st century, shaping and crafting a candidate as a brand is a serious affair to capture the attention of a constituency of voters. As a political strategy, the maximization of voter choice is achievable through crystallization, which involves focusing on vague or subconscious beliefs. Also, reinforcement has become a tactical tool since it facilitates strengthening and validation of the current opinions on a candidate or a political party (Blunenthal-Barby, 2013).
As a political TV campaign strategist, the first step involved in reinforcement would be to identify an issue that members of the candidate’s political party hold dear in their hearts. For instance, if members of candidate A cherish improved pay grade for local teachers, rather talking about the attributes of the politician, the campaign ad will be pro this issue and mention that it is endorsed by the said candidate. This will be followed by summarizing these interests and associating them with the candidate. In the same measure, the focus under crystallization involves twisting the same agenda into a social question. For instance, the need for increased pay grade can be romanticized around the future of teachers and the need for better living standards because teachers are the backbone of the society. In the end, voters will be destructed and ignore the misgivings of this candidate (Blunenthal-Barby, 2013).
Before engaging in a TV campaign ad, it is important to carry out the survey using tools such as research questionnaires, panel studies, lab experiments, and field experiments. The aspects of cost implication, validity, reliability, repeatability should determine the best tool. Also, the principles of crystallization and reinforcement are vital in transforming the collected data into an effective political TV campaign advert.
Blunenthal-Barby, M. (2013). Inconceivable effects: Ethics through twentieth-century German literature, thought, and films. Berlin, Germany: Cornell University Press.
Fowler, F. (2013). Survey research methods (5th ed.). New York, NY: SAGE Publications.