Self-selection bias and social research

Some surveys use self-selection, meaning we cannot generalise.

A self-selecting survey allows respondents to put themselves into the sample. Another name for this kind of survey is an open access survey. This is common on social media, where users can generate their own ‘polls’. Websites can carry clickable surveys on pages.

In the past, newspapers ran text-in or phone-in surveys. Sir Robert Worcester (Ipsos MORI) labelled such surveys ‘voodoo polls’. Self-selecting surveys are cheap and…