Same-sex marriage poll

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http://www.gallup.com/poll/159089/religion-major-factor-americans-opposed-sex-marriage.aspx

This poll shows American's views toward same-sex marriage. It uses open ended questions as to why they support or don't support same-sex marriage. I think this was a wise choice by Gallup because any other form of the question would either be leading or loaded. People have their own opinions on the matter and this is the ideal way for them to express that.

It was also no surprise that those who oppose it most do so for their religion. That was not a clever headline for the report, I would think of something more shocking.

How ethical is your job?

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http://www.gallup.com/poll/159035/congress-retains-low-honesty-rating.aspx

This survey on Gallup measured people's honesty ratings of various professions. It was no surprise to see car salesmen and congressman at the bottom of the list. It was surprising to see journalists rated so poorly since to me they are seen as the only people not afraid to tell the truth and hold people to ethical standards.

This poll was conducted using telephone interviews of over a 1,000 Americans in all 50 states. There was a +/-4 percentage of error to the study. This report was done well and organized logically. I especially liked the implications section that summarized the data into real world outcomes.

I only hope that journalists regain their ethical footing along with congressman! Car salesman are probably a lost cause...

Cold and Flu Season

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It's that time of year where a cold can knock you out for a day and a flu can hold you down for a few days. It was surprising to me that Gallup conducted a poll on Americans with a cold or flu. I thought they only did economics, politics and the like.

What I really found interesting about this poll was that it had a percentage error of only +/-1. So it is a pretty accurate view of the country. The second part that was intriguing was the way they broke down the results. By demographics they pinpointed who exactly suffered from colds or flu more than others. Here is a screen shot of that breakdown:

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Finals Poll

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This is an example of a great survey question! You can say that it is a leading question, but the actual question is not controversial and so I'd say it's okay. It is a close-ended question with multiple choices. There is an option for everyone: 0- 5+ finals, and it is very easy to understand. The poll gives you the results right away and it even gives a tally of how many people have been surveyed so you know what the percentages really mean!

Great job UMN.

Emotions Survey - Valid?

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http://www.gallup.com/poll/158882/singapore-ranks-least-emotional-country-world.aspx

I thought it was intriguing to see a poll that measured how emotional a country was. Singapore is reported as having the least emotions but I don't think the researchrs took into account their cultural values. Many asian cultures do not show emotions or talk about emotions with strangers, this may have affected the way they answered the questions in the survey. Not reporting the possiblity of a cultural difference I think was irresponsible of Gallup.

They did, however, come to the conclusion that Latin American countries have a higher rate of positive emotions than most of the world. This I learned in my Intercultural Communication class is because they live in the moment. They don't work for a goal, or for inner peace, they work for the present.

Surveys like this should be taken with a grain of salt because every culture varies and everyone shows emotions differently.

Gallup's Daily Poll

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Just found it interesting the things the gallup poll measures daily. They all relate to work and the economy of the U.S.

U.S. Happiness Poll

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http://www.gallup.com/poll/106915/Gallup-Daily-US-Mood.aspx

I thought this was an interesting gallup poll, and something not normally reported on: happniess level. The method of this survey was to call approximately 1,000 national adults and interview them on if they experienced a lot of happiness and enjoyment without a lot of stress and worry versus if they experienced daily worry and stress without a lot of happiness. Relating this back to our class, they used a closed-ended question with multiple choices. Although this may not be completely accurate because the participants were given only two options to pick from and some may have felt like they were more in the middle.

There was also a percentage of error or +/- 4 points. This means that while the results say there was 44% overall happiness, the range of confidence is 40% - 48%. There was also inconsistent data; there was 44% reported happy and 13% reported stressed, with no visible group to make up the difference.

Judging that happiness is already hard to measure I'd say this study has some flaws and should not be considered significant or representative of the U.S. population. On a global stage we already know where we stand: very close to the bottom. If Americans really want to be happy try moving to Denmark or Costa Rica!

Parodies of Research Reporting

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This parody by Jon Stewart is a prime example of research being mocked for being incomplete. I think if you are going to put your research into the media, you have to be pretty certain what it means for the world. In this case, two words can not be linked to Jesus having a wife; we need more proof!

People are skeptical because of false reporting in the past, so give them something they can trust.

Telling the Research Story

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In the article "Experimental Research for PTSD: Ecstasy", the researchers commented on the power of the media to gain awareness and acceptance of proposed research.

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Ecstasy is a controversial drug classified in the Schedule 1 classification, along with drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD. They are suppose to have no medical benefit and be highly addictive. Changing this attitude toward the drug was important for Dr. Doblin to be able to research it without bias.

This is an interesting look at the way the media can shape a research study. Public support and decreased stigmas of the drug was necessary for the DEA to allow the research to continue. Voicing their optimism toward ecstasy being a help instead of a harm was a interesting feature to this study not often seen.

Now that the study has found promising results it has become a three-day feature article on CNN's news site. They followed the Research with Legs article's advice to make the research into a story, showing their insights through narrative.

Reporting Trauma Studies

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I read an article in the NY Times today about the recent published journal about the effect of head trauma on professional athletes. The reporter did a good job of highlighting the goals and procedures of the research and the results of the study.

According to the article, the study was conducted over 4 years with samples of brains donated from major athletes and veterans who had exhibited the symptoms before death. The study was conducted by investigators at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. The study started out with an initial question about the link between head trauma and long-term degenerative brain diseases. The reporter mentions that "the researchers expected the details in the study to dispel doubts about the likelihood that many years of head trauma can lead to C.T.E", but as is the case with many studies, the results were not what the researchers expected but gave new insights.

The research for this study was relevant and showed a new insight into the field that merited its reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/03/sports/study-bolsters-link-between-routine-hits-to-head-and-long-term-brain-disease.html?ref=science