Sounds Iranian

January 14, 2007

Iranian bloggers as pollsters (?)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jordan @ 4:02 pm

Last Friday, I met with the people at Angus Reid Global Monitor to discuss the possibility of conducting an online poll of Iranians, using the blogosphere as our point of access.

The original idea was to create an online poll for bloggers and blog-readers, a la the Iranian Weblog Research Project.

Dr. Reid himself, however, offered up a different idea: to ask Iranian bloggers to serve as individual pollsters, whereby the Global Monitor would supply, say, 100 bloggers with a short series of about 5 yes/no questions, and the bloggers would then go out into the street and ask, say, 10 different people (each from a different age group), about their opinions vis-a-vis the questions. The bloggers would then submit their findings to the Global Monitor via an online data-entry site, and the Monitor would publish the results.

The sorts of questions to be asked would be on typical western-interest stuff… i.e. respondents’ views on the nuclear issue, the holocaust, a possible US military strike, etc.

What do you think about this idea? Do you think bloggers in Iran would be willing to go out onto the street to ask people these sorts of questions?

I think the idea behind this sort of ‘on-the-street’ methodology is to use the blogosphere to provide a more accurate sampling of the (urban) Iranian population as a whole, rather than to procure a sample derived only from a very narrow blog-reading demographic.

Do you think this would be a safe and/or feasible approach? Can you think of a way to achieve a similarly ‘representative’ sample, without requiring bloggers to do any off-line legwork that could potentially reveal their identities?

Any input would be appreciated!



  1. […] shares in Sounds Iranian blog, the idea that it is possible to use bloggers as pollsters. The blogger says I think the idea behind this sort of ‘on-the-street’ methodology is to use […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Iran:Iranian bloggers as pollsters — January 14, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

  2. Good idea, though, it might be a bit dangerous for the bloggers.

    Comment by kamangir — January 14, 2007 @ 11:39 pm

  3. I personally think it’s a great idea. I myself would be very interested in seeing the results. I like the idea of using bloggers to move beyond blogs and incorporating a broader slice of the community.

    In terms of risking the safety of the bloggers, I think that this is certainly a concern, which in turn could significantly affect any results of such a survey. They are more likely to ask people they can trust or who are like-minded, right? However, it seems that in certain contexts and environments, the sought dialog might be easy to get. I would serve up View From Iran’s Taxi Talk as an example of how such questions could be brought up in the context of cab rides. It seems that there could be a few scenarios proposed to bloggers that would lessen the risk.

    Additionally, it might be smart to add one or two questions that will help identify subjects’ backgrounds. Knowing if they have access to the internet or what part of town they live in would be simple questions that could help fill in information about demographic and political representation in the survey.

    Comment by calexander — January 15, 2007 @ 4:24 am

  4. Indeed, that’s the most problematic factor. I wonder what bloggers out there in Iran think? Would it be too risky? … If you are in touch with any, please be so kind as to ask their opinion.

    Comment by Jordan — January 16, 2007 @ 4:46 am

  5. […] As you might have heard before, angus-reid is interested in collecting data on Iranians’ opinions regarding some social […]

    Pingback by A Message to Iranian Bloggers « Kamangir (Archer) - کمانگیر — February 1, 2007 @ 4:47 am

  6. I am a blogger from Iran. This method has leads to a systematic problem. That is bloggers will ask from their friends and all of these people will have an same idea with each other. In this method you will never include the ideas of the poor people, rural areas, …

    Comment by Jadi — February 1, 2007 @ 6:41 am

  7. I has been linked your poll in my blog.

    Comment by Nima — February 2, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

  8. Hi Jadi,

    Yes – it’s a good point. Angus Reid’s idea was that we ask the bloggers to make sure they ask people of various ages in order to minimize the problem, as well as to encourage them to go out into their neighbourhoods to do the polling (eg ask people at a local grocery stand, etc.) .. I think that would minimize the methodological problem, but I’m not sure any bloggers would actually be willing to do this… would it be too risky / take too much effort? This is a key question…

    Comment by Jordan — February 2, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  9. Thanks, Nima ; ) Motshakeram

    Comment by Jordan — February 2, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

  10. This is a great idea, but it is, indeed, a bit risky. Poll-takers are in prison here in Iran. I have friends who were stopped from doing customer service polls at the Book Fair in Tehran and that wasn’t even political!

    All you can really do is ask people to ask their family and friends which will not give you scientific results but still might be interesting.

    Comment by Esther — February 3, 2007 @ 6:19 am

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