Annotated Questionnaire and Methodology


The annotated questionnaire contains the full questionnaire, plus response category percentages for the full sample. Select questions can be found on each of the Topic Summary pages, but a file with the full questionnaire and corresponding percentages are available to download from the bottom of this page. Response percentages reported by demographic subgroup can be found in the crosstables, here.

As a measure of transparency, we have included information about our methodology below, as well as background information about opinion research.

BRIEF METHODOLOGY DESCRIPTION


More than thirty years ago DHM Research initiated the Oregon Values and Beliefs Project to cut through the noise in a crowded media ecosystem. The Oregon Values and Beliefs Center is now continuing to apply high-quality opinion research to engage all Oregonians about the important values we share and embrace.   

Throughout those thirty years, this project has also maintained that unique focus on values while others track temporary and distracting shifts on flashy and fleeting issues. Social scientists describe values as individual or cultural mores that set standards and guide behavior by way of a mental compass. Importantly, even values regarded as stable may change gradually over time. Values research gives us a window into how, when, why, and to what extent those values evolve. This type of research also offers a sense of our commonalities and differences and identifies the building blocks for accountability, trust, reciprocity, respect, solidarity, and collaboration in our lives and more broadly, in our community. Unsurprisingly, this research involves a lot of variables. Competing and conflicting values exist both within individuals and whole societies, making measurement and interpretation of values a task of both art and science. The insights gleaned from this difficult task can have substantial implications for individual choices and policy decisions.  

Our research continues to improve to assess the values of Oregonians more accurately and comprehensively. The Oregon Values and Beliefs Center has responded to changes in opinion surveying by introducing new methods and technologies. The 1992 study, for example, was administered by people coming to a central location and completing long paper-based surveys. The 2002 and 2013 studies were administered primarily using random dial telephone interviewing.  

New tools exist today to confront new social practices and norms. The past ten years have seen random sample telephone survey participation rates continue to decline due primarily to caller ID devices, no-call lists, robocalling, and “survey fatigue” as surveying has become practically ubiquitous. This has made it impossible to obtain representative samples and ensure valid research findings using the telephone alone. In response, OVBC has implemented a more diverse quantitative source of respondents than previous surveys (i.e., hybrid sampling). For this 2023 study, we used professionally maintained online panels, self-administered surveys, and community partners’ contact lists.   

The survey – conducted between September 12th and October 23rd of 2023 – has a full sample size of N=3,414 Oregonians (including some residents from Washington, northern California, and Colorado who were used for non-Oregon-related questions to increase the size of specific population subgroups and enhance analysis and reporting). Altogether the sample size was sufficient to assess Oregonians’ values and beliefs generally, to learn how Oregonians feel about different planning and policy-making issues, and to review findings by multiple subgroups.  A Spanish version of the questionnaire was developed for the study in partnership with Crosscultural Now, a Eugene-based MBE and WBE; the values and beliefs of Spanish-speaking Oregonians are included in the findings.   

To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and the data was weighted by area, gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity. 

OVBC employed a variety of quality control and security measures to ensure valid findings, including questionnaire pre-testing for clarity and bias, using a captcha question to confirm that the respondent was a human completing the online survey and not an automated program, real-time monitoring of online data collection, use of a survey rewards program (i.e., incentive program), and reviewing every completed questionnaire for the time of completion, consistent responses, etc. 

In addition to descriptive analysis, the study used cluster analysis to develop a typology of Oregonians’ values and beliefs which concludes that regardless of political orientation, Oregonians can find common ground on key public policy issues.   

Using a subset of questions from the full survey, the cluster analysis identified eight groups of Oregonians, each one sharing similar values and beliefs and differentiating itself from the other 7 groups. These eight groups were then examined for their demographic and general attitudinal makeup and the values and beliefs they shared about key issues for which strong or moderate agreement was found (i.e., common ground). At the same time, we learned which issues there was little or no agreement on (i.e., neutral or contested territory). 

Statement of Limitations: Any sampling of opinions or attitudes is subject to a margin of error. The margin of error is a standard statistical calculation that represents differences between the sample and total population at a confidence interval, or probability, calculated to be 95%. This means that there is a 95% probability that the sample taken for this study would fall within the stated margin of error if compared with the results achieved from surveying the entire population. This survey’s margin of error for the full sample (N=3,414) is ±1.60%.  

CAN OPINION RESEARCH BE TRUSTED?


Opinion research deserves many caveats that we cannot possibly cover in a brief paragraph or two. OVBC readily acknowledges that no perfect methodology exists to solicit opinions.  All the techniques and methods fail to completely account for bias and eliminate errors.  While acknowledging this, OVBC has yet to come across a better methodology for reaching a true cross-section of citizens who often are not asked their opinion about germane and pressing issues of our times. Opinion surveying is neither an end nor the last word on any topic, rather just a reasonable generalization of the contours of cultural attitude within the constraints of the selected questions.   

In addition to the quality control measure described above, the use of open-ended questions and comment boxes throughout the survey permitted respondents to offer their independent and unique views of what the designers had missed or misstated. Integrating these comments into extended research allows the OVBC process to act more as a community forum rather than a simple aggregator of information. OVBC therefore asks you to understand that no single project or person can expect to ask all the right questions.  

The project team invites all citizens to examine, critique, and contribute insights and information to contribute to making Oregon the state we aspire to be.