Five Ways to Use Previously Collected Survey Data to Improve Quality in a Survey

When you find yourself surveying a population where significant information is known about those who are in the study prior to them completing the survey (such as in a longitudinal survey, a panel, or when the respondents are part of a known group such as a membership organization), such data can be used as part of the survey instrument design.  

While it is tempting to do whenever possible, when using such data, care should be given to how and when it is used...

SoundRocket's Guiding Principles

Everyone has self-assessed at some point or another.  Be it something formal with a Myers & Briggs inventory or a chat with a trusted friend or family member - we are driven to search for who we are.  To some it comes easier than others.  While I have always loved to self-assess, I have generally been shy...

Research Wonder: Do Web Surveys Change the Way We Interpret What's Happening Around Us?

In the recent conference proceedings of the 2016 Computer Human Interaction (CHI) Conference in Human Factors in Computing Systems, Geoff Kaufman and Mary Flanagan present an eye opening piece of research on the different reaction our brain has to content presented on digital vs. non-digital platforms.  

Their work raises excellent questions...

12, 38, 400, 820, and 1.9 million - A Numeric Exercise in Gratitude

In the Summer of 2004, I set out to carve a new path.  I knew that I didn't enjoy market research (or social science research within a market research firm).  I missed academic social science research, but I wasn't keen on returning to a purely academic environment.  I took a leap of faith and quit my job with no plan.  With two young kids, I would test out being a "full-time dad" for awhile, as I explored what options I had.  I suspect I knew inside that I needed the urgency of not having a job to help me decide what was next.

I am grateful that...

Are we truly innovating in social science research, or are we just building better rope?

When I think of innovation in survey research, I think of innovation in our "sister" field of land surveying.  (A field I think of too often as I correct confused extended relatives about the type of surveys that I'm involved in.)

In 2600 B.C. Egypt, "rope stretchers" were some of the first land surveyors.  They stretched rope to measure land distances.  But rope had its flaws - it was often weak, stretched, expensive, and in large amounts could be very heavy.  Small innovations took place...

Peer Review as a Necessary but Unscientific Process of Science - Can we just do some iterative science already?

Peer review is wonderful in theory.  Scientists reviewing other scientists' work to evaluate whether the science was applied thoroughly, implemented well, and interpreted effectively can be a wonderful way to allow the best science through.  But the Reproducibility Project clearly demonstrated that something is broken - when over a quarter of the published studies reviewed could not be replicated. 

It is not a surprise to most.  Humans are involved.  We make mistakes...

The Common Rule Proposed Changes - An Attempt to Simplify "Common"

Let's see how simple we can make this...beware, I may go too far.  If you really want to know about this topic, click the "Human Subjects Protections Update" button to the right, and you will have plenty to read...