Why and How
This chapter addresses surveys of social movement activists. Originally thought of as a methodological device to capture the degree of overlap between the ideological themes of the movement and the individual beliefs of demonstrators, the survey has since become an established methodology for a larger number of research questions concerning individuals involved in collective action. The chapter aims at addressing some of the main challenges in the use of the (very established) survey method during protest events. It discusses problems and solutions referring to bias in the implementation of random sampling, ways to control response bias, and main trade-offs in the preparation of questionnaires, as well as main caveats in the analysis of results. Examples are based on the authors’ own use of surveys in research on the global justice movement at the beginning of the millennium as well as during protests in times of austerity.
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