« Never shut the president in the door. | Main | How I Responded. »

Poll Dancing.

The point we're making here may be less obvious. It's not that two bits of data can contradict one another; it's that the same bit of data can be read in (at least) two ways. (86, chapter 5 IANS)
A survey's substantive conclusions mean little or nothing if the survey's procedures go unexamined. (113, chapter 6 IANS)

Let us start with the first quote from chapter 5 IANS. We all know the saying, 2 sides to every story, well now there are 2 (or more) sides to every number, data, poll, whatever you feel like inserting here is going to complete this idea. Anyone with any agenda can make anthing-numbers, words, ideas-dance the way they need, want, desire-them to do so. It is all in the wording. Which as a journalist with the job of expressing through words becomes either a benefit of the job-or a problem if there is bias. Keep your agenda at the door and one could use data and facts objectively. But let your prejudices in and raw data becomes tainted and spoiled like day old sushi. The point is this: numbers don't lie, the words surrounding the numbers do. When reading these data,dig into what they are really representing. Segway into chapter 6, and the idea that it is not the outcome of the poll that is important, it is how they got to these outcomes that rally is. How many phone calls did it take to hit the number of responses they were looking for. Who did they contact. When did they contact these people. These are the real questions to ask. This is the important stuff, not that x number of yahoos agree/disagree/are unsure about topic nothing. What time of day were the yahoos called-how many yahoos did they call-you get what I'm saying? Probably not, I am sure your looking at the screen the same way the dog looks at my two year old when he is trying to correct her, confused. Don't be, don't be afraid, don't be pessimistic either. We have to be the ones to ask the questions, because if enough of us do, then people will have to start answering us. And I think there are enough question askers out there to maybe get some of the questions answered that we want answered.

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural.

For BONUS BONUS, who said that quote?

Comments (6)

Nessa:

First, I love the title "Poll Dancing". Made me want to read it.

I wrote about something similar in my entry- polls are pretty sketchy. They can be manipulated so easily, and the reader is really none the wiser. How often do you see some reporter or media outlet being called out on a poll being wrong? Never, because we usually we read the information and just kind of go with it.

And the quote is from Gertrude Stein.

JaraWhite:

I have to say I agree that statistics and numbers can not be taken at face value. There are questions we have to ask about the questions put forth in these polls and surveys we read. But I wonder if we spend our time trying to dissect numbers asking what did you ask? who did you ask? when did you ask? is it even worth using, and if so will any of the results or responses be true

Maria Pezzuti:

I deffinately had the same idea about chapter 5. I never took the time to realize how there are 2 ways to interpret these polls and surveys and everything. The wording is a very important, you need to carefully analyze all the "context clues."

Maria Pezzuti:

I deffinately had the same idea about chapter 5. I never took the time to realize how there are 2 ways to interpret these polls and surveys and everything. The wording is a very important, you need to carefully analyze all the "context clues."

Maria Pezzuti:

I deffinately had the same idea about chapter 5. I never took the time to realize how there are 2 ways to interpret these polls and surveys and everything. The wording is a very important, you need to carefully analyze all the "context clues."

Maria Pezzuti:

I deffinately had the same idea about chapter 5. I never took the time to realize how there are 2 ways to interpret these polls and surveys and everything. The wording is a very important, you need to carefully analyze all the "context clues."

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 25, 2007 12:33 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Never shut the president in the door..

The next post in this blog is How I Responded..

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.