Prospecting the Blogosphere

about the UCI blog survey.

all opinions express herein are only makko's and ocean's, and do not necessarily reflect opinions of any of the other UCI blog survey team members

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Trials & Tribulations of Survey Making

Lisa, in a comment , mentioned that
on question #11 -- "does blogging connect me with more people like me" It does, but for me one of the important things about blogging is that it connects me with people *not* like me.

I think she's right. A lot of times bloggers will meet new people they perhaps otherwise would not have met through other means. Perhaps, we should've rephrased the question simply as "I have become more connected with people". That is a different kind of question (though interesting one) from #11.

But let me tell you--survey making is a tough process. And, if you want something interesting, shocking or provocative to come out of a survey and into a nice conference paper, you have to think up of questions that are conducive to interesting analysis. The process was roughly:

1.) We (the graduate students) came up with a myriad of hypotheses that we though were interesting.
2.) From these hypotheses, we developed questions and spoke with professors.

I think, we ended up with nearly 100 candidate questions! They all seemed so good and we each had our "favorite" questions. The most difficult part was in pruning the questions. This was done by:

1.) Each grad student marked out questions they thought could be done away.
2.) We met at a soup and sandwich joint, and went through each question that was marked. We argued and pleaded our case, and then a final vote was done to the question's fate.

Coordinating a project with a large number of participants is a difficult process. However, I think this is more than made up by the stimulation you get from so many different minds.

As with a software project, the design is the toughest part. Implementation is easier (though still tough, I'll talk about that in another post). I'd be interested to hear what other people's processes are when they create surveys. How do you come up with the format? How are initial questions formed? I found that previous surveys were a great help.

On another front, some people have graciously referenced our survey in their blogs:
yuuriblog [jp]
Joho the Blog [en]
Luca Pattaro #weblog# [it]

Anyhow, please do keep spreading the survey around. It'll make our data that much more effective.

2 Comments:

Blogger dubiousbiologist said...

Online surveys/forms/petitions/polls always make me nervous because there is too much self-selection before hand. First you have to pass the online savvy test. Next you have to pass the blogger savvy test. Then you have to find out about this particular survey.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One weakness in the survey that applies to me is that my primary blog is a group project. I am not the originator (though I am one of the most frequent contributors, after the founder), but it is "my" blog. However, my answers apply to myself alone, and can't be taken as indicative of the feelings or experiences of anyone else in the group.

4:33 AM  

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