One way to gather some information and get people engaged about an issue is to conduct a straw poll, an informal unscientific survey of those who ‘show up.’
One common type of straw poll is to ask for a show of hands at a face-to-face meeting, e.g.,
How many of you are happy with how the elections turned out? Who does NOT have a cell phone that’s set to mute? Who thinks the Twins will win the World Series this year?
As people in the room see each others hands go up and down, it sets the expectation that in a public setting, one is expected to ‘weigh in.’ It helps get people more engaged, rather than just being passive listeners. The activity gives the presenters a little information about their audience.
Online straw polls are similar but have some advantages: people can complete them anytime of the night or day; the polls can be more in-depth and people can take as much time as they need to fill them out; those reluctant to weigh publicly have a degree of anonymity; results are more easily compiled, etc.
We’re going to put up a straw poll at the start of this project (in a week or so) and we’re planning to do another one at the very end.
But your help is needed in creating these straw polls. I’ve started working on it and will post updates on my efforts via the comments feature attached to this blog post. Please critique my efforts and make suggestions on what else should be included.