Get access

Survey Research in Public Administration: Assessing Mainstream Journals with a Total Survey Error Framework

Authors

  • Geon Lee,

    Corresponding author
    1. Seoul National University
    • Geon Lee is a BK21 researcher in the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University, South Korea. His research interests are survey research methods, human resource management, public sector organizational behavior, and public service motivation and ethics.
      E-mail:glee153@gmail.com

      Jennifer Benoit-Bryan is a doctoral candidate in public administration and a research associate in the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests are survey research methods, digital inclusion, transparency in government, and local government management.
      E-mail:jbenoi2@uic.edu

      Timothy P. Johnson is a professor of public administration and director of the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His primary area of research is survey error.
      E-mail:timj@uic.edu

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jennifer Benoit-Bryan,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Illinois at Chicago
    • Geon Lee is a BK21 researcher in the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University, South Korea. His research interests are survey research methods, human resource management, public sector organizational behavior, and public service motivation and ethics.
      E-mail:glee153@gmail.com

      Jennifer Benoit-Bryan is a doctoral candidate in public administration and a research associate in the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests are survey research methods, digital inclusion, transparency in government, and local government management.
      E-mail:jbenoi2@uic.edu

      Timothy P. Johnson is a professor of public administration and director of the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His primary area of research is survey error.
      E-mail:timj@uic.edu

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Timothy P. Johnson

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Illinois at Chicago
    • Geon Lee is a BK21 researcher in the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University, South Korea. His research interests are survey research methods, human resource management, public sector organizational behavior, and public service motivation and ethics.
      E-mail:glee153@gmail.com

      Jennifer Benoit-Bryan is a doctoral candidate in public administration and a research associate in the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests are survey research methods, digital inclusion, transparency in government, and local government management.
      E-mail:jbenoi2@uic.edu

      Timothy P. Johnson is a professor of public administration and director of the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His primary area of research is survey error.
      E-mail:timj@uic.edu

    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Survey research is a common tool for assessing public opinions, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors for analyses in many social science disciplines. Yet there is little knowledge regarding how specific elements of survey research methodology are applied in practice in public administration. This article examines five mainstream public administration journals over an eight-year period regarding current methodological practice, organized around the total survey error framework. The findings show that survey research in the field of public administration features mainly small-scale studies, heavy reliance on a single data collection mode, questionable sample selection procedures, and suspect sample frame quality. Survey data largely are analyzed without careful consideration of assumptions or potential sources of error. An informed evaluation of the quality of survey data is made more difficult by the fact that many journal articles do not detail data collection procedures. This study concludes with suggestions for improving the quality and reporting of survey research in the field.

Ancillary