Jun 6, 2007

"Lies, D&mn Lies and Statistics"

Mark Twain once said, "There are lies, d*&n lies and statistics." A survey is currently being conducted about the scrapbook industry. It's the third update to the original one done in 2001. The company conducting the survey of scrappers and their habits is trolling for respondents at some of the large scrapbook message boards.

They keep posting it every few days to make sure people see it. Well, the post subject they did the other day was "Scrapbooking Survey for Oprah". PULLLLEEEEEZZZZZ! That is SO MISLEADING and makes me seriously doubt their intent to accurately gather and interpret their data. The OP said in the body of the message that these stats had been used by Oprah on her show. Their survey is not FOR Oprah, though, as the subject line lead you to believe. I thought that was shameless and dishonest to try to get people to look by using that subject line.

I am a sociology major and one of the classes we were required to take was Social Statistics. Stats can be manipulated a thousand different ways. Most questions are carefully crafted to lead you to a certain response. Very few surveys are "clean and pure". If they are, then the stats can be manipulated to produce desired results. For instance, in this political season, if the Democrats are doing a survey, they will make sure the results reflect their desired outcome. Basically, you can hardly believe most stats. I always try to get my hands on the questions before I will believe the results if it's important to me.

Therefore, companies truly interested in conducting clean and honest surveys should really approach the research with integrity. Posting misleading topics to get women to look at a post doesn't exactly drip with integrity in my book.

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