Thursday, November 10, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different

The Pew Center's knowledge survey is well known, but they've done something completely different this time by adding visuals.  As they say:
The new survey includes a mixture of standard multiple-choice items as well as questions that use photographs, maps and symbols. It was conducted completely online Sept. 30-Oct. 11, 2011, among a random sample of 1,168 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

That's kinda interesting.  It mixes photos of well known public figures, a couple of maps, an image or two, as well as standard political knowledge questions.  Take the test.  You'll get a random assortment of questions, not all of them, but I don't want to get into specifics because I'd prefer you took the test first.

I can say this: it's an interesting approach and one full of methodological and theoretical nuances.  Are there really visual learners?  The research says probably not.  But folks who watch a lot of TV news, they may be more likely to correctly answer the image questions.  Unfortunately the report doesn't address that, but it does tell us Republicans do better on a lot of the political and geography questions, at least compared to Democrats.  This doesn't control statistically for education, etc., so it's not as meaningful as you might think.  A table near the bottom does break it down by age and education.  It's worth a look, but without a more multivariate approach, we can't really get at visual versus textual questions.  But it's interesting to note that respondents with a high school education or less tended to do better on the visual versus the non-visual questions.  Worth exploring further.

Oh, by the way, I answered all my questions correctly.

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