The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Social surveys and social science

Smith, T.M. Fred (1997) Social surveys and social science Canadian Journal of Statistics, 25, (1), pp. 23-38. (doi:10.2307/3315360).

Record type: Article


Random sample surveys have become one of the key research tools in quantitative social science. Some of the claims for statistical methods in general, and for sample surveys in particular, have been exaggerated. The limitations of the survey method are explored. Inferences from sample surveys fall into two classes, descriptive (enumerative) and analytic (explanatory). The role of these two types of inference is examined and related to the controversy between randomization and model-based inference. An alternative role is proposed for sample surveys within the social sciences.

Le sondage aléatoire est devenu l'un des outils de recherche clé en science sociales quantitatives. Certaines des prétentions des méthodes statistiques en général et des sondages en particulier ont été exagérées. Nous explorerons ici les limitations de la méthode d'enquête. Les inférences de sondages peuvent être classées dans deux catégories: descriptives (ennumératives) et analytiques (explanatoires). Nous examinerons le rôle de ces deux types d'inférence et le relierons à la controverse entre la randomisation et l'inférence fondée sur le modèle. Un autre rôle va être proposé au sciences sociales pour le sondage.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: March 1997
Keywords: complexity, description, explanation, heterogeneity, history, limitations of statistics, randomization and model-based inference
Organisations: Statistics


Local EPrints ID: 30020
ISSN: 0319-5724
PURE UUID: 3712cb24-500e-425d-afe7-90cefb241864

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:56

Export record



Author: T.M. Fred Smith

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.