500 Words At A Time: Research, The Search For Stats

Stats. What did I know about stats, nothing. Not even next to nothing. If you are thinking about becoming a researcher learn stats. Know that shit. That shit will get you killed…sorry recently finished Training Day and this is another Star Trek themed Research post.

Star Trek StatsHere is a problem with doing research and not knowing a damn thing about stats, the other person had better know stats. Thankfully, Paul knows stats and was able to teach me some basics. He taught me enough to get me interested enough to take and pass the Statistics class (taught by a man who looked like Richard Dreyfus)…and I thought I was done with math. WRONG!

When we last left off, the experiment period came to an end one week short and with no edits. Surely, someone must have said something about five posts with no edits and some glaring errors. Nope. Which either proves the point I will eventually get around to making or says that my writing was pretty bad. I will let you decide…later.

giphyAs the blog portion wrapped up, we (okay, mostly Paul) created the survey that readers could take. The hope being that lots and I do mean lots of readers would take the survey and we would be so inundated with data that at the time of the presentation we would play the Matrix screen and say, “and…Magic,” walking off to stunned silence and muted applause. That last part was mostly entirely my dream.

What happened was slightly different, we ended up with 28 responses that could be used. There were more, but they had to be tossed out because the person could not or would not finish the survey or the one “person” who completed the entire survey in something like .3 seconds. Yes, point something seconds. Most likely not a person, thus they had to go. To say that I was disappointed by the lack of response is like saying I only kinda like Spongebob. I was crushed.

In hindsight, promoting the survey could have been done better. At the time though, we did what we thought was best, which was a regular appeal for people to take the survey, not really what the survey was about, and cross our fingers. Who knows. Those 28 responses though, would be where it was at. Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing that; I was staring at rows of numbers with no clue of their potential only a growing migraine.

Know what coding is? No, not like computers, but for research? Neither did I. The gist, as I still understand it is to create a value system for everything for easy data entry; such as a direct comment is a 1 where as no comment is a 0. What this meant is in addition to pulling all of the blog posts and organizing them, I had to pull all of the comments for someone else to go through. What? I wrote about sex and at that particular time I was getting a lot of pushback from professors about my desire to write about sex in an academic setting. That other people would be reading these, even if it was solely to use the post to evaluate the comments had me slightly freaked. I have no idea how the volunteers Paul found did it, but all of the comments were coded and then began the analyzing of the data.

I’m not going to lie. It took me finishing a beginner’s stat class to begin to understand what was before us. At the time I accepted that I did not know, but Paul did and as he explained to me, even with a small sample size we had found something.

Hint…this is the cliff hanger part. 🙂


One thought on “500 Words At A Time: Research, The Search For Stats

  1. Statistics is a dicey game. How they are presented is sooooo subjective (and easily manipulate-able) that they can pretty much prove any point you are trying to make.

    Unless, of course, you’re schmoozing a mathematician. 😉


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