Although survey studies allow researchers to gather unique information not readily available from other data sources on disease epidemiology, human behaviors and beliefs, and knowledge about health care topics from a specific population, they may be fraught with bias if not well designed and executed. The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Survey Disclosure Checklist (2009) and Code of Professional Ethics and Practices (2015) can guide researchers in their efforts.1,2 The standards were first proposed in 1948 and arose in direct response to the presidential election where Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey.3 Truman’s victory surprised the US because Gallup and other polls predicted a Dewey win. This divergence forced pollsters and statisticians to recognize flaws in their quota sampling methods, which resulted in a nonrepresentative sample and misprediction of the 33rd president of the United States. The confusion over the election prompted leaders to propose standards for survey research. Despite the long-standing nature of these guidelines, recent data show survey reporting is often subpar.4 Compliance with disclosure requirements is often lacking, and articles in some specialties only report 75% of the required methodologic elements on average.4
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Pitt SC, Schwartz TA, Chu D. AAPOR Reporting Guidelines for Survey Studies. JAMA Surg. 2021;156(8):785–786. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2021.0543
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.