Today’s students are preparing to enter a world in which data literacy – the ability to find, analyze, interpret, and describe data – is absolutely essential for academic and career success. The Roper Center’s archive of public opinion data offers educators the opportunity to integrate data into curriculum in multiple ways by offering understandable, relevant quantitative data on a broad range of topics in history, health, culture, government, and media studies. To support educators at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school level in their work, the Roper Center offers the following materials to facilitate the use of polling data in the classroom. For an overview of polling concepts, methods and analysis, please see Polling Fundamentals and Analyzing Polls.

Apple cut into the shape of the world

Introductory-level lesson plans appropriate to an advanced high school or introductory college curriculum.

U.S. History – Public Support for WWII  (pdf)

U.S. History – The Public and Desegregation (pdf)

Civics – Using Polls to Develop a Political Strategy (pdf)

Mathematics – Working with Percentages (pdf)

Assignment book and pen
This section provides educators with sample teaching assignments helpful in the classroom for getting students acquainted with polling data. Assignments utilize several Roper Center resources to support learning of fundamental polling principles.

Polling Basics Assignment (pdf)

Sample Assignment Using the Roper Center’s website (pdf)

Topical Assignments (pdf)

Work table and chairs
These hands-on group exercises can be used to familiarize anyone new to polling – students, librarians, researchers from other fields, educators – with the basics of understanding public opinion polls and navigating the Roper Center archives.

Abortion Workshop Exercise (pdf)

Gay Rights Workshop Exercise (pdf)

Israel Workshop Exercise (pdf)

Smoking Workshop Exercise (pdf)

War and Politics I Workshop Exercise (pdf)

War and Politics II Workshop Exercise (pdf)

Syllabi example
Public Opinion, Polling, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School (pdf)

Public Opinion Seminar, University of Texas at Arlington (pdf)

Public Opinion and Polling in American Democracy, Castleton College (pdf)

Public Opinion in American Politics, George Washington University (pdf)

An Introduction to the Principals and Methods of Survey Research, University of Connecticut (pdf)

Example of undergraduate research project
Undergraduates working with Roper Center materials have conducted and presented original research. See student posters on on public opinion in the following areas:

Gun control

Constitutional amendments,

Human rights

Political engagement of high-religiosity millennials

Dataset downloads

Roper Center provides some dataset downloads free of charge. These datasets allow educators to teach statistical analysis using real-life data on engaging and important topics in American life.

NSF - National Science Foundation

Public Understanding of Science and Technology, NSF 1979-2006

This set of surveys is sponsored by The National Science Foundation—Science Resources Statistics. The principal investigator from 1979-1999 was Jon D.
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September 11, 2001 New York City clouded in smoke

September 11, 2001 surveys from days following the attack

These polls, taken in the days immediately following the September 11th attacks, reveal the public’s personal reactions to the events,
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2006 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey

2006 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey

The 2006 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey is comprised of a national adult sample of 2,741 respondents and twenty-two communities
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Faith Matters cloud tag

Faith Matters Survey 2006

The Faith Matters Survey was conducted on behalf of Harvard University by International Communications Research in the summer of 2006.  
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Other tools

Webinars, iPOLL Support and Data Support are also helpful tools that can be used on their own or as supplements to lesson plans, assignments and exercises. Topics at a Glance provides an overview of subjects of interest to educators and students.

For further information please contact the Roper Center at 607.255.8129 or