December 2012 Archives

Digital Politics Infographic: Who Uses Social Media?

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http://pewinternet.org/Infographics/2012/Digital-Politics.aspx

This is an awesome infographic that depicts findings from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. I love the visual that they use, but I think it's also important that they give links to the description of their study. Research that gives all the information of how it was conducted is the most credible. I think it also helps that we know that Pew Research Center is a credible research organization, so great studies like this one are to be expected.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/159083/cite-obesity-urgent-health-problem.aspx

More Americans than in the past say obesity is the most urgent health problem facing the United States, climbing to a new high of 16%. That compares with 1% in 1999, when Gallup began asking the question on an annual basis.

It looks like this poll was conducted longitudinally, over a span of about 13 years. This survey was in a open-ended question format. The most recent survey was conducted November 15-18 2012 and was distributed to a random sample of 1,015 adults, about equal men and women participated. The article even includes that this survey was conducted over the telephone.

I really liked this article because it gave great, in depth information about the survey, how it was conducted, and insightful results. I was a little surprised that it was an open question format survey, considering how long it can take an open-ended question survey to code.

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Senior driving safer than teens according to study

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/senior-driving-safer-than-teens_n_2237499.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

This article talks about a recent study completed by AAA that shows, maybe despite stereotypes, that senior drivers are in fact safer drivers than teenagers. Their research is supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.

I think this study is really interesting. I like how the article gives possible reasons for why the results are what they are. It's always nice when doing research to be able to gain and give insights to people. It's also crucial, if teaming up with other people or organizations for research purposes, that those people or organizations are credible, with credible research techniques.

How a hyper-gendered age of toys affect children

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How a hyper-gendered age of toys affect children

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Author Peggy Orentstein has studied family politics and gender for years. She says we are fighting the same battles we did in the 1970s with gender specific toys. One study that she talked about showed that 3 year old girls with older brothers have better spacial skills and are more excepting of gender-neutral toys. I thought it was interesting how unspecific she described the study. What type of study was it? A longitudinal? Was this based on observation or surveys? How many people were studied and where? There are still so many questions that need to be answered.

The Real Reason You Have Insomnia

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http://www.cosmopolitan.com/advice/health/insomnia-causes#slide-10

This Cosmopolitan article cites reasons why you may not be able to sleep, proven by sleep experts. I wondered while reading this what types of studies and/or research were completed to give these reasons. I know that Cosmopolitan doesn't use extremely scientific research studies to cite their work, but it would have been nice to know, as well as it would have been more credible with better source citation and method explanation.

10 Astonishing New Species Discovered in 2012 Analysis

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Even with billion dollar satellites and high tech monitoring equipment, researchers are still able to find new species on land and at sea. This fascinating article makes me wonder how advanced technology will have an impact on future research. It's interesting to think, just 20 years ago people never even took surveys online, and now it is the most popular and used way to survey people. Just what exactly does our future hold for research techniques?

10 Astonishing New Species Discovered

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College Enrollment Hits All Time High

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http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2009/10/29/college-enrollment-hits-all-time-high-fueled-by-community-college-surge/

This article is based on the report completed by the Pew Research Center's analysis of the October 2008 Current Population Survey and Census Bureau's historical time series on college enrollment available on the Census Bureau's website. The article states that the latest census shows that there are more college students enrolled than ever, primarily due to a surge in community college enrollment.

My criticism with this article is that it was just recently published, but the results of the census show numbers from 2008, which was almost 5 years ago. I think this article may be a bit misleading for people reading it that think these are the most current numbers. I think it should have been more important to state clearly in the article that the information is from 2008 and there could be different trends now.

French Sperm Count Falls By A Third

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20593467

The sperm count of French men fell by a third between 1989 and 2005, a study suggests. The semen of more than 26,600 French men was tested in the study, reported in the journal Human Reproduction.Researchers say this constitutes a serious health warning.
From the looks of this article and study, it looks like the next phase of research will be about what is causing the decrease. Some researchers hypothesize it is most likely due to a high fat diet combined with increased chemical exposure in the environment.
Since this study took place over a period of years, it is important that the methods remained the same for comparison, which is noted in the article. When setting up experiments, it is also important to take into consideration important factors, which this study did when taking into consideration factors that affect sperm quality, such as age, smoking, and weight.

Scientists Discover Oldest Dinosaur Yet Analysis

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New findings show that dinosaurs have been around longer than anyone expected. With new data collection from researchers, they hypothesize that the newly collected bones (data) reveal a number of common characteristics shared with early dinosaurs and their close relatives. The interesting part of this story is that the bones were found in the 1930s, first described in the 1950s, but never published, and now 80 years later the researchers are putting all the pieces together.
I think this article is interesting because of how the data has been used over the years. It shows that data is important, and essential, and shouldn't be forgotten. If we don't have the technology now to make sense of the data, it is a possibility that in the future we will have the technology and more educated researchers to work with the data.

Scientists Discover Oldest Dinosaur Yet

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Health Behaviors of College Women Survey Analysis

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This survey was on health behaviors and perceptions of college women. It was quite a long survey, about 30 questions with a mix of both scaled questions and open-formatted questions. The survey began with demographic questions, followed by perceptions of social issues, and then questions about sexual/relationship behavior while at college. I thought the survey was really interesting and the results could be really insightful at the end. This survey offered an incentive of a chance to win a $25 Target gift card. I wonder if this had any effect on the number of people who participated in the survey. As we have learned in class, incentives can play an advantageous role in the number of people who participate.
I thought that the questions were formatted well and didn't involve any leading or loaded phrases, which could have been easy to do considering the topic of the questions. The only criticism I have of this survey is a question that asked about which generation of my family immigrated to the United States. The only options were me, my parents, or my grandparents, which none of these options fit my situation. If I were to rewrite the survey, that would really be my only correction.

Health Behaviors of College Women Survey

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Mashable Social Media Video Analysis

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This video highlights the recent Nielsen report that shows many people use social media while watching TV and while in the bathroom. The report shows that nearly a third of Twitter users in June tweeted about TV shows, which is a 27% increase from five months earlier. The report also shows that nearly a third of 18-24 year old respondents said that they use social networking sites while in the bathroom.
I thought that this was a really interesting study, but not really surprising. I feel like social media usage is always increasing, no matter what the situation. I only wish that this webpage gave more information about the study. It was vague about the types of questions that were asked and the method, as well as the number of people that participated. This information would have been good to know, to understand the study and results better.

Mashable Social Media Video

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Paper Towels Best Method For Drying Hands Analysis

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According to a new study released by the Mayo Clinic, drying hands with a paper towel is more effective when compared with cloth towels and electric air dryers. The study, conducted last year, reviewed 12 studies on the hygienic efficacy of different hand drying methods. According to the study, "The risk of potential contamination among dispenser exits, paper towels, and hands should be considered in the design, construction, and the use of paper towel dispensers."
This website article also linked to the actual study completed by Mayo, which I read through a bit. Mayo Clinic was very particular in which studies they would use for their study. Studies had to compare the hygiene performance of at least 2 hand-drying methods. Second, studies had to use an empirical research approach with quantitative outcomes; qualitative and review articles were excluded. I think these approaches were very important to the outcome of the study. Their approaches made their research valid and reliable, and ultimately credible to people who read the article.

The full research article: http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2812%2900393-X/fulltext

Paper Towels Best Method For Drying Hands

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Paper Towels Best Method For Drying Hands

Merck Starts a New Alzheimer's Trial

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/03/us-merck-alzheimers-idUSBRE8B20O020121203

Merck & Co Inc is moving to the forefront of Alzheimer's disease research by starting a mid-stage study of a drug from a new class of oral medicines that aim to shut down production of a protein associated with the disease. The Phase II trial, which will compare the drug with a placebo, is a global, multi-center study that includes a group of 200 to test safety. The study is expected to eventually enroll up to 1,700 patients in the main Phase III Trial.
This study looks like it's a great example of an experiment. It has a placebo group (control group) and a group with the drug. I think if this experiment goes well, it will have excellent reliability and validity and move to the third stage of the trial.

Brands/Football Stadium Survey Analysis

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The attachment below this post is to a survey that I, along with a few group members, created for a public opinion class. Included with our questions is the results of each question.
Our survey focused on brand perceptions of Coca-Cola and Pepsi and the dispute between Mall of America Stadium and TCF Bank Stadium. We started out with demographic questions, followed by questions that asked if you know about the issue, and then we asked questions about brand perception of Coca Cola, Pepsi, and the two stadiums.
By writing and conducting our own survey, I learned a lot about the importance of finding the right target audience. Specifically, the majority people that took our survey didn't know what the issue was in the first place, so we didn't get the desired results we had planned. For our survey, we needed to survey people that were big football fans and that actually cared about the issue.
I think our survey question format was good. We used scale-based questions, specifically Likert scaled questions. If we would have used open-ended questions, it would have been complicated to code at the end. However, if I were to redo the survey and how we conducted it, I would find people that knew of our issue and cared about football. With this audience, an open-ended question or two in the survey would have been helpful to gain insight.

Brands/Football Stadium Survey Document

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Bottled Water Survey Analysis

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This is a pilot survey that I participated in, conducted by an SJMC student for her honors thesis. The survey is about perceptions and opinions related to bottled water. All of the questions were open-ended, which made answering them easy. It was also nice to be able to give detailed descriptions for our answers if we chose to. I think the person who wrote the survey questions did a nice job. There were not any leading or loaded questions from what I could tell. The questions never made me feel like I had to give a certain answer to appease the researcher. I also think that the questions were ordered well because it started out with broad questions and ended with more specific questions, which is easier for the person being surveyed to answer.
One thing I question about his survey, though, is why there wasn't any demographic information to fill out. I think that type of information could have added more to the researcher's results. For example, if there was a specific age range that had particular perceptions about bottled water compared to a different age range. I also found it a bit odd that every single question was open-ended. Most, if not all surveys that I have participated in use a combination of both open-ended and scaled questions. Additionally, I am not sure how many people participated in this survey, but if there were a lot these questions would be very difficult and time consuming to code at the end.

Bottled Water Survey

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

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