Friday, March 27, 2015

Bad Bad Survey

So there's a thing called Georgia Schools Parent Survey. I teach public opinion, I teach how to conduct (and how not to conduct) surveys. One of the great problems is what we call a SLOP, a self-selected survey.

Can anyone fill it out? Why yes. and I did. Took only a few minutes and then I got this:

Huh? Reload? I can do it again? Why yes. Yes I can -- though I didn't. One reporter got the problem and it was his tweet that brought this survey to my attention. Full disclosure, he's one of our former students.
Any survey that relies on people just happening to choose to participate is doomed to being, well, complete bullshit. A good survey has a representative sample, meaning everyone theoretically has a chance of being included. SLOPs tend to attract those angry, or those the target of some promotional drive. In the latter, I suspect some school districts will cook the data by asking their parents to participate.

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