Increasing policy feasibility is a frequent argument for policyIncreasing policy feasibility is a frequent argument for policyrelevance of research on public attitudes to policies. Therefore,this text discusses the interlinkage of public opinion and thepolicy-making process. The text focuses on the role of publicopinion surveys as a source of information about public attitudestowards policies and policy instruments. Following a discussionof conditions of policy responsiveness related to pollmeasures of public support, public support is argued to emergefrom public opinion as a communication process or a processof social organization, rather than to reflect a collective state ofmind. As such, public support constitutes one of many possibleresults of the public opinion communication process – a resultwhich is temporary and thenceforth subject to the ongoingprocess. It is not reducible to survey responses as expressionsof individual attitudes toward policies, which present an oversimplifiedand partial picture of reality. Surveys, however, constitutean important source of information for researchers andpolicy makers. Therefore, we need to use and interpret themaccordingly. Some recommendations are proposed to improvethe current practice.
United by Faith? The Significance of Religion for Assortative Mating in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Based on empirical data, contemporary Czech Republic is considered to be more secular than Slovakia. The differences between these countries have been described by the way of rates of traditional forms of religiosity in society. The declining share of the religious population is often explained through the secularisation thesis. From this perspective, the process of secularisation entails decreasing importance of religion in everyday life, and it is associated with the modernisation process. Nevertheless, both religious and non-religious worldviews have an impact on people’s decisions in their everyday lives. In addressing their daily needs, individuals rely in their rational calculus on the values and opinions stemming from their worldview.
The paper presents an application of a mixed-methods designThe paper presents an application of a mixed-methods designin the study of interethnic attitudes (prejudice). Its goal is toanalyze the relationship between attitudes towards the Romaand contacts with members of this group. Both quantitative andqualitative empirical material is used here and methodologically,the analysis presented seeks to verify the applicability, limitsand usefulness of mixed methods for prejudice research. Theoretically,the text is based on the contact hypothesis, whichmainly holds that contacts with members of a group that istargeted by prejudice lower the level of prejudice towards thegroup as a whole. It was formulated by Gordon Allport in the1950s and developed later by authors like Thomas Pettigrewor Linda Tropp. The premises of the contact hypothesis are appliedin the case of attitudes towards the Roma in the CzechRepublic. Mixed-methods design provides the methodologicalframework for this study. A secondary analysis of quantitativesurveys (by the Public Opinion Research Centre) is followed(enriched and deepened) by a primary analysis of qualitativesemi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of membersof the Czech majority. This mixed design is intended toachieve more comprehensive and convincing results comparedto a single-method (either qualitative or quantitative) approach.