December 2012 Archives

Facebook Timeline poll

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PCMag published an article regarding the new Facebook Timeline feature and users' opinions of it.
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The above two images seem contradictory. Either that, or the questions were too vague and user opinions were categorized differently for both the article then pie chart. The informal poll was conducted by Sophos' technology consultants and is admitted to be unscientific due to the likelihood of respondents' "security-mindedness". In Sophos' blog, the consultants wrote in an assuming tone, drawing conclusions about what users were worried about such as "frictionless" apps, personal details, thievery, and more, though respondents were not necessarily asked about these issues. Facebook chose not to respond to the Sophos poll that was made possible by Twtpoll, an online polling platform on Twitter, a rivalry social network of Facebook. PCMag nor Sophos mention the timeline of the so-called survey nor do they have any demographic information, except that they are supposedly Facebook and Twitter users. People more active on Twitter may be less active and/or not in favor of Facebook. Using an app other than Facebook induces bias and inaccuracy due to the inability to verify users. And open-ended responses leave it to the researchers to categorize free responses into like or dislike categories.

Volunteers of America: Aging

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To launch their campaign on a new integrated care and support system for older Americans and their caregivers, Volunteers of America did research with hopes of validating the reasoning for their Aging with Options Initiative. Questions covered topics such as monetary planning, taxes, desire for independence or care, workplace flexibility, and family (as follows):

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The research was conducted by Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint. 1,200 adults age 45+ were surveyed nationwide, with an oversample of 250 adults ages 45-60 who are care providers to an elder family member. The survey was conducted by phone April 7-14, 2010 and stratified by gender and geographically to reflect the population. The margin of error for the base was +/- 2.8% and +/- 4.4% for the oversample.

VoA used pie charts and bar graphs to represent the numerals and percentages of those surveyed with their responses. The report states that "a woman can expect to spend 18 years caring for a parent" but none of the graphics displayed prove such a claim, including the number of years or gender of care provider. I also have a problem with the limited, close-endedness of the questions. Participants were given the options "yes" or "no" and "not likely", "likely/somewhat likely", and "don't know". There is not enough of a variation in response options and VoA consistently refers to participants of specific examples as "these people", which is not clear enough for such a study needing to be exact. A finding VoA claims to have found is that "most common types of assistance include housework and cooking...medical care, talking with doctors, transportation, and daily activities such as bathing, eating, and getting dressed", however there was no question or poll reported to ask about such duties. Even if people were polled, were they current caregivers or expected caregivers? Whom are they providing care for and what are the disabilities of him/her that require individual care? How many people were polled? Were the questions free response or multiple choice? There are too many variables that a claim cannot be made without more specific findings.

Domestic Workers

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I discovered this study online at ABC News/Washington Post. The findings were summarized and conclusions were drawn based on the questionnaire and in-person in-depth interviews. 2,086 nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers from 14 nationwide metropolitan areas responded to a standardized set of questions via landline and cell phone interviews. 190 domestic workers from 34 various scholarly organizations and worker alliances drafted and guided the research process while multiple piloted the 29 semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Translators and interpreters had to be used as nine different languages were spoken by the participants, as there were 71 different countries of origin. The study spanned from June 2011 to to February 2012 and participants were offered $20 as incentive to complete the 45-60 minute survey.

Here is a demographics chart of the domestic workers:
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The study included questions about pay rates, benefits, and their impact on workers and their families; employment arrangements and employers' compliance with employment agreements; workplace conditions, on-the-job inquiries, and access to healthcare; and abuse at work and the ability to remedy substandard conditions.

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Benefits and contributions to validity are as follows: the sample size was large (almost double the national acceptability rate), the drafting and revision processes and credibility of those involved, the quality and volume of questions asked, the structure and layout in which responses were formulated (i.e. focus groups), and the variety of work amongst domestic workers, leading to generalizability.

Target the Wealthy?

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The ABC News/Washington Post poll reveals that 73% of Democrats are in favor of raising taxes on the rich population making $250,000+, 63% Independents, and only 39% of Republicans. Fiscally conservative Republican views must be taken into consideration and also voter/participant incomes. Opposition to limiting tax deductions peaks at 58% among $100,000+ income earners versus 47% of those earning less than $50,000.

Participants were also asked about "strong" opinions versus general likes and dislikes and the topic of Medicare coverage was also covered. Tax views depend greatly on ideological views, whereas Medicare opinions are similar across the political board and instead relates to age, with 78% of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 opposing the raise of Medicare eligibility age.

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The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by Langer Research Associates of NY. 1,016 random adults were polled by landline and cell phone nationwide post-election from November 21st to 25th, 2012. The sampling error is 3.5 points.

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Obese kids & food ads

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Some benefits of the research study are the pre and post-tests that were done of all children in both groups of healthy children and obese children. The controlled variable was the showing of the 120 logos to the ten children and the pre and post-testing by MRI scans.

The downfalls of the study are the small-sized participant pool, the limited age range of participants, and the fact that television ads were not actually used in the study. Without scanning the children's brains whilst watching the ads and instead showing them food brand logos is slightly irrelevant and unsupportive of the outcomes the scientists were originally seeking. The logos prove recognition but not significance, and with that, obese children who consume more food are more likely to recognize a variety of logos as opposed to normal weight children.

"Obese kids showed greater activation in the rewards and pleasure centers of the brain, which lit up when they saw the food logos, compared with when they saw non-food logos. Healthy weight kids on the other hand also showed signs of brain activation when shown the food labels, but in brain's self-control centers. Healthy weight children were also more likely to report greater self-control when surveyed after, compared with the obese children."

"In the 1950s and '60s, the favorite vegetable of children in the United States was spinach. That was because of Popeye." This is a statement from the article but no proof that consumption of spinach was directly caused by the popularity of Popeye, and could have merely been a coincidence. The 50s and 60s also had fewer junk food brands and higher consumption of vegetables that can be perhaps be credited to non-working mothers that cooked well-balanced meals for their children.

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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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