Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bad Surveys

A brief story gets into some rather inane comments by North Carolina's governor about higher education.  No surprise there.  The crux of the five-graph piece, though, is its reporting of a survey of faculty, who generally disagree with Gov. Pat McCrory.  Yeah, his comments are kinda dumb, but I'm more interested here in the survey.  Below, the methodology:
The online poll was conducted Feb. 6-7 and drew 172 faculty responses. The margin of error was plus or minus 6.8 percentage points.
Releasing a survey of a mere 172 respondents is a bad idea, and it's impossible to say whether these 172 souls were randomly drawn or whether this is a SLOP.  If the latter, it's even more useless.

Keep in mind, the results make sense.  I'd expect faculty to disagree with McCrory on the issue.  But there's a difference between getting what you expect and doing it right (and still getting what you expect).

Read more here: http://projects.newsobserver.com/node/26949#storylink=cpy

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