Peace Polls

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Analysis, publication and dissemination

Full disclosure of results

The necessities of transparency and the imperatives of public diplomacy require that the results of the research be made available to the widest possible audience in a manner that is clear and easy to understand. With this point in mind the use of rank orders and simple percentages are to be encouraged for presentational purposes with the use of more sophisticated multivariate techniques reserved for expert analysis. Statistical summaries for all questions should be published and made publicly available.


Although best practice with regards to publication would normally require making all the results of a peace poll available to all sections of the media at the same time the disadvantage with such an approach is that partisan media will cherry pick the results to present a biased picture that favours their interests. If those responsible for the management of the peace poll believe the local media environment would react in this way then they may wish to consider making deals with the most widely read newspapers in the various communities to give them a brief first exclusive providing the research team have editorial control of this first release of the story. Full reports and press releases should be made to all media at the same time or shortly thereafter including publication on the Internet.

Broadcast media

Given the limited time allowed for any one news item, the broadcast media find it very difficult to do justice to the subtleties of a well researched peace poll and therefore are not ordinarily the most appropriate primary vehicle of dissemination.


Full reports with analysis and results, methods and instruments should be published on the Internet and thus made freely available to all interested parties. The report should include detailed descriptions/explanations of how the data was collected, managed, coded (particularly in the case of open-ended questions), etc., etc. Whenever possible this should also include making the full data set available for secondary analysis. Inevitably some media and commentators will choose to distort the findings of the poll so having the full results published in this way is, in the end, the only real answer to the problem of partisan interests and partisan reporting.