500 Words At A Time: Research, The Final Frontier

Twenty-eight people responded in a way that we could use. Twenty-eight is not a lot of people. Thus if something happens with most of them that would be significant, wouldn’t it? Would it be statistically significant? The answer I know now, is yes. At the time I had to take Paul’s word for it and he had no reason not to be as excited as I was.

You may climb off that cliff…by the way this post will not be as bad as the movie I referenced in the title…maybe.

Put plainly, the data showed that readers could not tell the difference between a traditionally written post and voice-to-text written post. Except they could, in one circumstance; if they were shown one sample of each and then asked questions about the quality of the two posts. In that instance they could. Stop for a moment and think about that.

On the surface that didn’t mean much. It did, but most people said, “well duh! they are different…because…well you know.” No, we didn’t know. The survey did not delve into the exact reasons why people could tell and when left to their own devices, many wrote in or indicated via choice, that the quality was different; of lower quality. What does that mean?

So we went over my notes about my experiences and other than a chuckle about cow, learned that most of my thoughts about my posts were about the quality. Again what does that mean? Quality…as defined by me, quality related to word choice, staying on topic, diversity of words/sentences, and over all structure.

Word Choice: Dragon 12’s lexicon was large, but not as large as mine; I frequently found words that the software did not know. Because the process to teach the software a new word was not intuitive, not easy, and very frustrating, I often gave up trying to teach the software and went with a word Dragon did know. Those words were often imprecise.

Staying on Topic: When writing a post or anything in traditional methods, the brain stays on topic, unless derailed. The act of writing is a focus. Most of writing, after a while, becomes automatic. You do not think about punctuation, you just know when to put them in, same with spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and so on. Voice-to-text turns that paradigm on its head. You HAVE to think about everything. I cannot speak a sentence and the software inserts the correct punctuation. I have to say, “I have to say period.” Suddenly, the rote, the mundane, becomes a mental process and the more you think the more you tangent. A typical post of mine has one to two topics that are reasonably fleshed out in the word limit I set for myself. A voice-to-text post ranged from three to seven topics and none of them were fleshed out, mostly thought tangent fragments.

Diversity of words/sentences, and over all structure: By now, I think you are getting the picture. From my perspective as writer there were some issues with quality that I could narrow down. Readers however, could not when they would typically read a post and then read the next a day later, the visual clues weren’t that obvious. However, put two samples side-by-side and something triggered a quality comparison for readers.

The problem was, this was the first stage in a long research project. We didn’t know if there was anything to find. We found something, but I had a presentation to give…soon.

 

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