Monday, October 31, 2011

Ignorance in New Zealand?

A New Zealand news story reports:
Taranaki's students could have a lot riding on this month's election but they might not even know it, according to a recent survey which reveals their political ignorance. 

Calling it "political ignorance" seems a bit strong to me.  A lack of awareness, perhaps, but ignorance is over the top given only 20 percent didn't know an election was taking place.  But for those of you budding methodology students out there, note this next graf:
The survey gauging the political knowledge of 32 Witt students shows more than half didn't know a referendum was being held alongside the election, while 62 per cent said they didn't understand the MMP system. 
 WTF?   You're computing percentages of 32 students?  Of 32 friggin students?  If we're going to talk ignorance, let's talk ignorance of basic research methodology, let's talk Survey Sampling 101, let's talk ... oh, never mind. 

Finally, the truly scary part -- the results "will form an academic paper," the story says. 

Um, no -- not unless you're talking about in-depth interviews and rich data, not a mere survey of 32 kids.

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