October 2012 Archives

Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, and Coca-Cola

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Last week I participated in a study that was emailed to me from the UMN SJMC Research Participation System. This survey took place in two parts. I took the first part of the survey and then in a week or so later I was emailed the second part of the survey to complete.

The first part of the survey was focused on the participant's different relationship with brands. I was asked how close my relationship was with the brand and how loyal I was with different brands. The brands that stuck out to me were the brands Coca Cola and Pepsi. I chose that I had a very close relationship with Coke and a very distant relationship with Pepsi.
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The first part of the survey continued by asking about the participant's political views, mainly whether I identified as a liberal or conservative, or if I was more likely to vote democratic or republican. Also, in the light of the election, this survey used the Semantic Differential Scale to list different characteristics/ qualities for both Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama for the participant to express their opinions about each candidate. Being very liberal, I tended to favor Obama on the semantic differential scale.

After a week or so I had to take the second part of the survey. This survey began with a video of Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart making fun of super pacs. After watching the video the participant was asked a number of questions regarding their opinions toward super pac. For me this part was a little confusing since this is the first time I had heard of super pacs. I knew they had to be bad if Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert were making fun of it, but I was still unsure to what they were and why they were bad. After the survey I had to google it to understand what they were. It would have been helpful if the survey had also explained what a super pac was instead of using the video for the participants to infer the meaning of a super pac. By having the survey taken online, it enables the researcher to include good visuals and videos. This was a helpful way of keeping the participants interests.

As the survey continued it provided an article on Coca Colas views showing that Coke is a very conservative company. It also had me pick which brand I was most loyal to again and then pick which brands ideals and values I related with more closely. I unfortunately had to say that my political views are close to Pepsi and very distant with Coke. It was interesting participating in this survey since while I was providing the researcher with useful information, I also learned things that I did not know before as well.

During the second part of the survey, I was also asked many of my viewpoints again such as my political views and the semantic differential scale of both Romney and Obama. This was a way to check the participant reliability. They wanted to make sure that I had not changed my views in the week between the different part of the surveys.

This semester I have participated in a variety of different research studies. I am generally contacted through my UMN email with the instructions that a research study is available to sign up for on the SJMC Research Participation System. This particular study was titled "A Study on Women's Perception of Gynecological Diseases". Before I was able to start answering the questions for this survey I must agree to participate after having read the consent form(attached below).
A Study on Women's Perception of Gynecological Diseases.docx

This form explains the background information and purpose for this study. This background information informs the participant of what the questions will consist of. The background information also informs the participant that the survey should only take between 10-15minutes to complete, which is convenient to know so the participant can put aside the amount of time needed to complete this survey. The consent form also informs the participant that there are minimal risk involved in this study, yet the benefit in participating is that the participant will receive extra credit as well as the information gathered from the study will be used to create more effective health campaigns.

The consent form also states that the participant will receive confidentiality. Although, I needed to provide my UMN x.500 ID in order to gain extra credit, the consent form states that no personally identifiable information will be attached to my responses. This study also guarantees that the study is kept private to ensure confidentiality for their participants.

The consent form also states that the participation is voluntary. It is states that it is my decision whether or not to participate in this study. It also informs the participant that it is okay to withdraw from the study at any time. The form also provides contact information, in case the participant has any questions involving this study.

After having agreed to this consent form I was able to start answering questions. This survey started with questions focusing on my gynecological history and knowledge surrounding woman's health namely cervical cancer and STD's. It also asked many questions focusing on the social stigma that goes along with a woman having either of these health problems. It appeared that this study started with light and simpler questions and as it continued it gradually became more serious. This survey used a Likert Scale in which I choose whether I strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree with each statement that was said. They had the scale balanced and by offering a neutral I was able to feel comfortable by selecting each option.

I think that it was really beneficial for this survey to be conducted online. It was very convenient for the researcher to get participants since they went through the SJMC Research Participation System through the UMN. Also, with the incentive of extra credit many people are willing to participate. It is also useful that this study is conducted online since the topic can be a little sensitive to participants. The participants are more likely to answer sensitive questions honestly when they remain faceless on the internet. There is a sense of no judgement. This comfort for the participant ensures the study is getting accurate results.


Chilly Billy's Facebook Survey

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As the winter season rapidly approach Chilly Billy's, a frozen yogurt shop in Dinky Town, is researching whether or not the cold weather will effect their sales. Chilly Billy's posted a survey using Survey Monkey on their page, and since I have "liked" them on Facebook it appeared on my newsfeed.

Their survey asked general questions about how many times I frequent Chilly Billy's per season. They also wanted to know how many times I went to Chilly Billy's per month. Their choices consisted of 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 times per month and was multiple choice. This put me in as a participant in an odd spot. I was unsure what to click as my answer, since I generally visit Chilly Billy's maybe 2-3 times per year. This was a poor design for a survey since the responses should be exclusive and exhaustive. Generally, per month I frequent Chilly Billy's 0-1 times- more 0 than 1. My responding 1-2 times will mislead the researcher in thinking im a more frequent customer than I am. They also could interpret the rest of the answers from the survey based on how many times they believe I go to Chilly Billy's, this would lead the results to different assumptions and skewed results.

It was interesting to see that Chilly Billy's used social media as their survey method. The advantages of posting the survey on Facebook is that Chilly Billy's was able to get responses quickly and easily reach a large number of their customers. This survey was also inexpensive for Chilly Billy's since they used survey monkey in order to conduct the survey. There are also some negatives that go along with using a social media as a tool for reaching survey participants. Most of the participants in this survey were fans of Chilly Billy's on Facebook, yet a number of the customers probably have not "liked" their Facebook page. This means that Chilly Billy's is not reaching a large number of their customers. Also, they are only getting the response of people who have tried Chilly Billy's so they are missing out on the opinions of people who may become future customers. Also, out of the people who viewed the survey on their "newsfeed", Chilly Billy's is only getting the response of people who choose to take the survey (volunteers). A large number of people may see the survey posted on Facebook, yet only a number of them will take the time to participate.

I think this survey was effective in reaching a large number of their followers and gaining insight on whether their customers plan to continue to go to Chilly Billy's in the cold months, however I think in order to gain an effective amount of information they should use other survey methods as well. It would also be beneficial for Chilly Billy's to also do a survey in person as well. This way they get the views of their customers as they are coming in the store, rather than people who do not frequent the store often yet likes them on Facebook.

Taiwanese Bubble Tea- Research Study

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For the past three years now I have worked at The Tea Garden, a locally owned bubble tea shop in the Twin Cities. As I was recently was promoted to manager, I now attend monthly manager meetings. At the last manager meeting we were informed that a study had been conducted in Germany that found that bubble tea might carries carcinogen's which lead to cancer. These results were very worrisome to our company since many customers have asked about whether our bubble tea has cancer causing chemicals, which was bad for our product and store's reputation. Our company followed the progress of this research, since we wanted to make sure we were providing our customers with a safe beverage.

After looking deeper into the research study we found that they had only tested one type of "bubble". The traditional bubble, tapioca pearls, had not been included in the study that stated bubble tea carried carcinogens. A follow up study was conducted by German authorities and Taiwan's FDA proving that bubble tea is carcinogen free. In the follow-up study, a larger number of bubble tea ingredients were tested. Over 84 Taiwanese beverage products were tested by the consumer protection agency of Nordrhein- Westfalen. This study found that bubble tea did not carry any cancer causing chemicals.

It is really important to make sure research is accurate when going public with the results. In the first study, the results had determined that bubble tea might carry carcinogens. However, after doing a follow up study that included a larger variety of bubble tea, the results found that it does not carry any cancer causing chemicals.

It is very important that our company follows different research studies that involve our products. It would be unethical to serve our customers any product found to be dangerous for their health. Our company ensures that we are providing our customers' with beverages that are unique and great tasting as well as healthy.


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

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