December 2012 Archives

Meaningless Surveys

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Random Survey.jpg

When googling "bizarre survey results" the third option that came up was 25 Strange Questions Surveys. Since it was so high in the search results, I figured there would be a direction to it. There was no direction at all, all 25 questions were completely random. Questions ranged from, "what color socks are you wearing right now," to, "what would you do if you were invisible for the day." Every response was open to type in your own response so it did not completely limit the options on most questions. The survey had no meaning to it and there was no notification of where the results would go. It just recommended posting the results on a social media site. This experience highlighted a couple of things for me. One, that some very meaningless things can obtain the third spot on the google search. Two, that some surveys truly do not matter. And three, that I should never search with the word "bizarre."

Statistical Significance

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The above article is titled, "What Every Researcher Should Know About Statistical Significance," and it provides good insight to some key questions.

What is statistical significance?
The article boils this down to two important concepts, sampling error and confidence level. These are two key features when deciding whether survey results can be extended to the larger population.

How large a sample is enough?
The article outlines the process of deciding on a good sample size. It starts with deciding what percentage of error is acceptable and then calculating backwards to find the appropriate range of participants. "The sample precision analysis can help a researcher make an informed decision regarding sample reliability." - Data Star Inc.

What statistical tests do I need to know about?
This portion of the article describes both the Z-test of proportions, and the T-test of independant means. Sample precision analyses typically uses the T-test to estimate an appropriate sampling error. One-tailed and two-tailed tests are also mentioned for testing directional difference and the difference of groups.

The Statistics of Crosstabs and More

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The article above provides a clear break down of how crosstabs and other survey data analyses are described statistically. It covers the descriptive statistic sand goes on to break down the meaning of the mean, median, and mode of the data as well as standard deviation and standard error. For all of you lucky readers at home, the mean is the average, the median is the middle value of a data set, and the mode is the number that occurs most often.

Standard Deviation and Standard error provide insight regarding the mean of a distribution. Standard Deviation describes the average distance between a number and the mean. Standard Error reflects the reliability of the mean. A large standard error produces data that is not trustworthy.

A Solid Middleman

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GreenBook calls itself, "The Guide for Buyers of Marketing Research," and they have been operating for fifty years now. The main features of their website include options to find marketing research firms and focus group facilities all over the world. The web page does consist of much more and promotes many research articles on its home page. What interests me is the fact this website acts as a middle man, a form of Google in its own sorts, for research and it as strong of a source as it is.

I understand that organizing and rating a chaotic thing is very impressive but I find it interesting that sites like this still function when Google is doing what it is doing in the research world. They are one of the few companies that in the middle man business that has been able to stay head and shoulders above the competition and it is impressive.

Digital Takeover

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online shopping.jpg

The article above discusses the IBM 2012 Holiday Benchmark Reports. The numbers represented show a ridiculous trend. On Black Friday mobile traffic grew by more than 67%. Mobile sales doubled to 16% and the overall sales for Black Friday increased 20.7%. The research that stood out to me was the break down of tablet and smart phone purchases. The iPad beat out any other smart phone and tablet with roughly 10 percent of the traffic for online shopping. The iPhone followed with 8.7 percent. I wonder if the Nook, Kindle, and other smart phones will look at these statistics and try to model their ability to shop on them.

The article does not describe how they got the information but I find it very interesting that they can track all of the different sales from different apparatuses. There must be some form of tracker within each purchase that says what kind of device the purchase was made over.

Top 10 Innovative Companies

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Greenbook conducted a study that outlines the most innovative companies. The rankings, based on mentions, are as follows:
Brainjuicer 60
TNS Global 32
Vision Critical 32
Synovate 31
Ipsos 25
Nielsen 25
Anderson Analytics 21
Itracks 18
GFK 17
Peanut Labs 16

"Research professionals who participated in the study were recruited from various sources including the GreenBook member directory, direct email invitations to sponsor contact lists as well as open recruiting through several social media research groups and social sites" -Leonard Murphy. To get a grasp on innovation they looked at new technology adoption and attitudes towards methodologies. They use their resources well and the top ten actually forms an interesting list. Often times with a study like this numbers can be very misleading due to company connections taking the surveys in order to boost the company's status. The results actually represent the top ten companies that make people think they are innovative.

How Do They Come Up With These?

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Nothing blows my mind more than seeing all of my friends that go to the University of Wisconsin - Madison post ridiculous statistics and surveys that show them as the best at something. They don't bother to check sources or figure out how the data was collected, they just assume it is correct. What I want to know is how some nobody research groups make actually collect data to figure out which school has the most attractive women, best traditions, and which school is a bigger party school. Below are links to survey results showing the top 10 party schools and the top college football traditions.

What possible data can they pull to claim that out of the hundreds of colleges and universities, these are the top ranked. I am sick of all of the clutter on the internet and information that melts peoples' brains. The other survey puts Wisconsin's Jump Around tradition as number 1, over all other traditions. Even the traditions that have actual meaning and history. The world will never make sense but to my friends in Madison, the world makes too much sense I guess. There needs to be a data clean up of all of the crap online.

Water Survey

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Bottled Water.jpg

Upon taking the bottled water survey that was emailed to us from Professor Ball two questions popped into my mind. What is the point of this survey and will those questions and answers actually provide any useful information.

I went into the survey expecting there to be a clear direction within some of the questions but I really could not find one. I understand that the creator is developing the question format but I feel as though none of the questions should be included in an honors thesis level survey. After taking that survey I could not tell you if it had to do with sustainability, recycling, general statistics about drinking bottled water, or consumer behaviors.

For a ten question, open answer format I thought the questions limited responses and actually guided them into a description that is not typical to how bottled water consumption would be described. Some questions were worded poorly in the fact that I truthfully could not answer properly. I wish I could open the survey back up to provide specific examples but I cannot.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2012 is the previous archive.

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