Lies, damned lies ... and surveys	
Beatrice Motamedi
The Urban School of San Francisco
Spring JEA/NSPA National High Schoo...
Wednesday, April 9, 14
“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain, the American humorist, w...
What’s the last survey you took for your
newspaper or website?
How many people responded?
What did you learn?
What would y...
Let’s BYOS (build your own survey)
• Find a person whose eye color is the same as yours
and has the same kind of smartphon...
let’s whip
what did you ask?
how did it go?
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Glossary
• Poll: you ask one question, usually
yes/no or multiple choice (what you
just did)
• Survey: you ask several que...
How not to do a survey*
Click here for
“RNC Young
Voters Survey,”
Stephen Colbert,
4/4/13
*with apologies to young Republi...
What’s wrong here?
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Too many questions, bias, types of questions (leading) and methodology can all a...
What’s wrong here?
too many q’s
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Too many questions, bias, types of questions (leading) and methodol...
What’s wrong here?
too many q’s
too many
assumptions (bias)
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Too many questions, bias, types of ques...
What’s wrong here?
too many q’s
too many
assumptions (bias)
closed q, not open
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Too many questions, ...
What’s wrong here?
too many q’s
too many
assumptions (bias)
closed q, not open
you woke this guy up ...
for this?
Wednesda...
Our goal: A baby survey you can use right here
• Population sample — WHO to ask
• One closed question — WHAT to ask
• One ...
A nation of question-askers
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which American...
A nation of question-askers
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which American...
A nation of question-askers
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which American...
A nation of question-askers
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which American...
My school of
question-askers
February 2013 Urban Legend
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Examples from my school, including a studen...
A new industry: Web-based surveys and polls
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Presidents are born ...
Wednesday, April 9, 14
... and live by polls
Poll data at nyt.com (left) and realpolitics.com (above) as accessed on on 12/18/13.
Wednesday, Apri...
Just one day ... at Real Clear Politics.com
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Selections from the Pew
“Fact Tank”
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Pew regularly surveys teens on technology, religion, social tre...
Making surveys sexy
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Nate Silver used his column to predict results in the 2008 and 2012 presidentia...
Why surveys are powerful — and scary
“When they verify the popularity of an idea or
proposal, surveys and polls provide pe...
“It always makes sense, though, to push back ...
especially (when a poll) supports
your own point of view.”
Wednesday, Apr...
Questions to ask
• Have you surveyed enough people to be accurate?
• Are those people representative of the selected popul...
Three tips	
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Three tips	 (and three deadly sins)
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Three tips	 (and three deadly sins)
• Get a random sample. It
should be representative
also — not just people who
will ans...
Three tips	 (and three deadly sins)
• Get a random sample. It
should be representative
also — not just people who
will ans...
Three tips	 (and three deadly sins)
• Get a random sample. It
should be representative
also — not just people who
will ans...
Three tips	 (and three deadly sins)
• Get a random sample. It
should be representative
also — not just people who
will ans...
Three tips	 (and three deadly sins)
• Get a random sample. It
should be representative
also — not just people who
will ans...
Three tips	 (and three deadly sins)
• Get a random sample. It
should be representative
also — not just people who
will ans...
#1: Get a random sample
Wednesday, April 9, 14
This analysis by Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata (February 2002) shows ho...
Surveymonkey Blog tips
Source: Surveymonkey Blog
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Avoiding non-response bias means getting people to...
How much error will you tolerate? How would you
find that many people?
Wednesday, April 9, 14
In order to get a solid resul...
Strategies
• Get a “concrete sampling frame” — a list of all of the students here (or at your
school). Use Excel to random...
#2: Avoid bias
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of Ameri...
#2: Avoid bias
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of Ameri...
#2: Avoid bias
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of Ameri...
#2: Avoid bias
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of Ameri...
Question types: Choose a variety
closed
open
also: filter questions, e.g.,
have you ever smoked
marijuana (if not, then you...
Same question, three types
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Same question, three types
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Same question, three types
multiple: good for a poll/
quick react, especially if
localizing
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Same question, three types
multiple: good for a poll/
quick react, especially if
localizing
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Same question, three types
multiple: good for a poll/
quick react, especially if
localizing
matrix: more depth/better
for ...
Same question, three types
multiple: good for a poll/
quick react, especially if
localizing
matrix: more depth/better
for ...
Same question, three types
multiple: good for a poll/
quick react, especially if
localizing
matrix: more depth/better
for ...
Watch your words
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Question #1 emphasizes cost (“at public expense”) while Question #2 emphasizes cho...
Watch your words
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Question #1 emphasizes cost (“at public expense”) while Question #2 emphasizes cho...
Watch your words
Wednesday, April 9, 14
Question #1 emphasizes cost (“at public expense”) while Question #2 emphasizes cho...
“Obamacare” or “Affordable Care Act”?
Source: “Polling Matters,” Gallup.com,
11/20/13
Wednesday, April 9, 14
brainstorm two questions, of different types
Wednesday, April 9, 14
#3. Maximize response rate
analytics here
Wednesday, April 9, 14
There’s always a tradeoff between anonymity and analytics...
Analyzing results
• Be humble. You have not surveyed the universe,
just one group of people, and your questions could have...
Putting results into words — rhetorical strategies
• Set up/attribute: “According to a DATE survey of HOW MANY (people,
st...
Beware of false comparisons
Wednesday, April 9, 14
“In ‘The Marriage Crunch,’ (1986, Newsweek) reported on new demographic...
Beware of false comparisons
Wednesday, April 9, 14
“In ‘The Marriage Crunch,’ (1986, Newsweek) reported on new demographic...
Beware of false comparisons
A 40-year-old single woman “more likely to be killed by a
terrorist” than to marry?
Wednesday,...
Beware of false comparisons
A 40-year-old single woman “more likely to be killed by a
terrorist” than to marry?
Wednesday,...
Beware of false comparisons
A 40-year-old single woman “more likely to be killed by a
terrorist” than to marry?
Wednesday,...
Recommended reading/survey websites
• Michael Traugott and Paul Lavrakas, The Voter’s Guide to Election Polls
• Ronald Cza...
Beatrice Motamedi
Feel free to email q’s:
bymotamedi@gmail.com
beatrice@newsroombythebay.com
bmotamedi@urbanschool.org
Wed...
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News Gathering: Lies, damned lies, and surveys

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A presentation for high school journalism students attending the 2014 JEA/NSPA Spring National High School journalism convention in San Diego.

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News Gathering: Lies, damned lies, and surveys

  1. 1. Lies, damned lies ... and surveys Beatrice Motamedi The Urban School of San Francisco Spring JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention April 2014 Wednesday, April 9, 14
  2. 2. Wednesday, April 9, 14 “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain, the American humorist, who wrote in “Chapters from My Autobiography” that "(f)igures often beguile me ... particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'"
  3. 3. What’s the last survey you took for your newspaper or website? How many people responded? What did you learn? What would you like to do better? Wednesday, April 9, 14
  4. 4. Let’s BYOS (build your own survey) • Find a person whose eye color is the same as yours and has the same kind of smartphone as you do (iPhone or Android) • Brainstorm a question you’d like to ask right here in San Diego. How many students surf? Who believes in global warming? Should texting while driving be a crime? Choose a topic that actually interests YOU. • Take out your smartphone and download an app: Instasurvey (Android) or Surveymonkey (iPhone) • Set up a free account and go out with your partner/ask your question. Try to capture at least one answer using your app. Be back in 5 minutes. Wednesday, April 9, 14
  5. 5. let’s whip what did you ask? how did it go? Wednesday, April 9, 14
  6. 6. Glossary • Poll: you ask one question, usually yes/no or multiple choice (what you just did) • Survey: you ask several questions with various question types (multiple-choice, open/closed, short-answer essay, etc.). • Random sample: a selection from a population, based on chance, and with an equal probability of being selected • Respondents: those who actually respond to the survey (not the same as those you sample) • Time/manner: when and how a survey is conducted, e.g., a Surveymonkey from April 7-10 • Response bias: a preference that results from problems in the surveyprocess, e.g., using leading questions, or not allowing answers to sensitive q’s to be confidential • Sampling error: the variation in data among samples Wednesday, April 9, 14
  7. 7. How not to do a survey* Click here for “RNC Young Voters Survey,” Stephen Colbert, 4/4/13 *with apologies to young Republicans in the audience (young Dems probably have a survey just as bad as this one) Wednesday, April 9, 14 This video captures many typical survey mistakes, including non-response bias (you can’t find the survey), response bias (poorly written or leading questions) and no control over the sample (Colbert is obviously over 30 years of age but takes the survey anyway).
  8. 8. What’s wrong here? Wednesday, April 9, 14 Too many questions, bias, types of questions (leading) and methodology can all affect how a person answers a survey, generating results that are just plain ... wrong.
  9. 9. What’s wrong here? too many q’s Wednesday, April 9, 14 Too many questions, bias, types of questions (leading) and methodology can all affect how a person answers a survey, generating results that are just plain ... wrong.
  10. 10. What’s wrong here? too many q’s too many assumptions (bias) Wednesday, April 9, 14 Too many questions, bias, types of questions (leading) and methodology can all affect how a person answers a survey, generating results that are just plain ... wrong.
  11. 11. What’s wrong here? too many q’s too many assumptions (bias) closed q, not open Wednesday, April 9, 14 Too many questions, bias, types of questions (leading) and methodology can all affect how a person answers a survey, generating results that are just plain ... wrong.
  12. 12. What’s wrong here? too many q’s too many assumptions (bias) closed q, not open you woke this guy up ... for this? Wednesday, April 9, 14 Too many questions, bias, types of questions (leading) and methodology can all affect how a person answers a survey, generating results that are just plain ... wrong.
  13. 13. Our goal: A baby survey you can use right here • Population sample — WHO to ask • One closed question — WHAT to ask • One open question — ditto • A platform — HOW you will ask your questions Wednesday, April 9, 14 Our goal for this presentation: You will leave with the beginnings of a survey, including a topic, two types of questions, a plan on how you will collect your sample, and a web-based platform that makes it all easier.
  14. 14. A nation of question-askers Wednesday, April 9, 14 Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which Americans ask each other questions. George Gallup began systematically surveying Americans almost a hundred years ago.
  15. 15. A nation of question-askers Wednesday, April 9, 14 Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which Americans ask each other questions. George Gallup began systematically surveying Americans almost a hundred years ago.
  16. 16. A nation of question-askers Wednesday, April 9, 14 Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which Americans ask each other questions. George Gallup began systematically surveying Americans almost a hundred years ago.
  17. 17. A nation of question-askers Wednesday, April 9, 14 Examples of some of the long-running established ways in which Americans ask each other questions. George Gallup began systematically surveying Americans almost a hundred years ago.
  18. 18. My school of question-askers February 2013 Urban Legend Wednesday, April 9, 14 Examples from my school, including a student cartoon that expresses frustration and fatigue over constant question-asking.
  19. 19. A new industry: Web-based surveys and polls Wednesday, April 9, 14
  20. 20. Presidents are born ... Wednesday, April 9, 14
  21. 21. ... and live by polls Poll data at nyt.com (left) and realpolitics.com (above) as accessed on on 12/18/13. Wednesday, April 9, 14
  22. 22. Just one day ... at Real Clear Politics.com Wednesday, April 9, 14
  23. 23. Selections from the Pew “Fact Tank” Wednesday, April 9, 14 Pew regularly surveys teens on technology, religion, social trends, sexuality, and more.
  24. 24. Making surveys sexy Wednesday, April 9, 14 Nate Silver used his column to predict results in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections with astonishing accuracy, correctly predicting the winner in all 50 states in 2012. Analyzing survey data is his forte. Now at ESPN, Silver says he practices “data journalism.”
  25. 25. Why surveys are powerful — and scary “When they verify the popularity of an idea or proposal, surveys and polls provide persuasive appeals because, in a democracy, majority opinion offers a compelling warrant: A government should do what most people want.” Source: “Everything’s An Argument” (2007: St. Martin’s Press) Wednesday, April 9, 14
  26. 26. “It always makes sense, though, to push back ... especially (when a poll) supports your own point of view.” Wednesday, April 9, 14
  27. 27. Questions to ask • Have you surveyed enough people to be accurate? • Are those people representative of the selected population as a whole? • Did you choose them randomly — not selecting those likely to say what you want to hear? • Does the wording of your questions intentionally or unintentionally create bias or skew results? • Have you described the results accurately and fairly? Does your story stick to what you asked, and only what you asked? Wednesday, April 9, 14 Here are questions you should ask yourself, whether you’re doing or reading a survey. Questions adapted from “Arguments Based on Facts and Reason” in “Everything’s An Argument” (2007: St. Martin’s Press).
  28. 28. Three tips Wednesday, April 9, 14
  29. 29. Three tips (and three deadly sins) Wednesday, April 9, 14
  30. 30. Three tips (and three deadly sins) • Get a random sample. It should be representative also — not just people who will answer the way you want them to. Wednesday, April 9, 14
  31. 31. Three tips (and three deadly sins) • Get a random sample. It should be representative also — not just people who will answer the way you want them to. undercoverage Wednesday, April 9, 14
  32. 32. Three tips (and three deadly sins) • Get a random sample. It should be representative also — not just people who will answer the way you want them to. • Avoid bias. Ask a variety of questions (open/closed, multiple choice, short answer). Question order matters; begin with basics. Avoid leading questions. undercoverage Wednesday, April 9, 14
  33. 33. Three tips (and three deadly sins) • Get a random sample. It should be representative also — not just people who will answer the way you want them to. • Avoid bias. Ask a variety of questions (open/closed, multiple choice, short answer). Question order matters; begin with basics. Avoid leading questions. undercoverage response bias Wednesday, April 9, 14
  34. 34. Three tips (and three deadly sins) • Get a random sample. It should be representative also — not just people who will answer the way you want them to. • Maximize response rate. Write good questions, not too long. Use a platform that makes it easy. Analytics help. • Avoid bias. Ask a variety of questions (open/closed, multiple choice, short answer). Question order matters; begin with basics. Avoid leading questions. undercoverage response bias Wednesday, April 9, 14
  35. 35. Three tips (and three deadly sins) • Get a random sample. It should be representative also — not just people who will answer the way you want them to. • Maximize response rate. Write good questions, not too long. Use a platform that makes it easy. Analytics help. • Avoid bias. Ask a variety of questions (open/closed, multiple choice, short answer). Question order matters; begin with basics. Avoid leading questions. undercoverage non-response bias response bias Wednesday, April 9, 14
  36. 36. #1: Get a random sample Wednesday, April 9, 14 This analysis by Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata (February 2002) shows how Americans — and the media — relied on telephone polls that failed to pick up Truman’s strength among voters who were less likely to be reached that way (in 1948, a majority of Americans). The resulting Chicago Tribune headline is a journalism classic, but for all the wrong reasons.
  37. 37. Surveymonkey Blog tips Source: Surveymonkey Blog Wednesday, April 9, 14 Avoiding non-response bias means getting people to answer your survey. First you have to figure out how many people that needs to be. The more people you survey, the lower your margin of error.
  38. 38. How much error will you tolerate? How would you find that many people? Wednesday, April 9, 14 In order to get a solid result here at the convention, how many students would you have to survey more than one in two students. Can you do that? How? What strategies might you use?
  39. 39. Strategies • Get a “concrete sampling frame” — a list of all of the students here (or at your school). Use Excel to randomize/select your sample, e.g., every other student. • Design a random reporting strategy: Get five reporters to stand in five places here (or at your school). Each reporter spends one hour surveying every other person who walks by. • Use advisory: Ask teachers to pass out surveys so that all grade groups are covered (can’t use this one very often) • Be social: Embed your survey on Facebook, or use your smartphone and go to the dance (and ask every other person who shows up to take your survey) Wednesday, April 9, 14 Potential problems are double-counting, failure to randomize for age/gender, non-response bias (some people don’t answer email surveys; some won’t answer surveys unless they’re emailed), etc.
  40. 40. #2: Avoid bias Wednesday, April 9, 14 Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of American Idol text their votes to American Idol. In season 3, Fantasia Barrino beat Diana DeGarmo by 1.3 million out of a record 65 million votes cast. But it was third-place winner Jennifer Hudson who really won. A student journalist might get similarly bad results by surveying athletes only about school athletics. You have to cast a wider net.
  41. 41. #2: Avoid bias Wednesday, April 9, 14 Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of American Idol text their votes to American Idol. In season 3, Fantasia Barrino beat Diana DeGarmo by 1.3 million out of a record 65 million votes cast. But it was third-place winner Jennifer Hudson who really won. A student journalist might get similarly bad results by surveying athletes only about school athletics. You have to cast a wider net.
  42. 42. #2: Avoid bias Wednesday, April 9, 14 Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of American Idol text their votes to American Idol. In season 3, Fantasia Barrino beat Diana DeGarmo by 1.3 million out of a record 65 million votes cast. But it was third-place winner Jennifer Hudson who really won. A student journalist might get similarly bad results by surveying athletes only about school athletics. You have to cast a wider net.
  43. 43. #2: Avoid bias Wednesday, April 9, 14 Voluntary response bias happens when respondents self-select, e.g., viewers of American Idol text their votes to American Idol. In season 3, Fantasia Barrino beat Diana DeGarmo by 1.3 million out of a record 65 million votes cast. But it was third-place winner Jennifer Hudson who really won. A student journalist might get similarly bad results by surveying athletes only about school athletics. You have to cast a wider net.
  44. 44. Question types: Choose a variety closed open also: filter questions, e.g., have you ever smoked marijuana (if not, then you can’t take the marijuana smokers’ survey) Wednesday, April 9, 14
  45. 45. Same question, three types Wednesday, April 9, 14
  46. 46. Same question, three types Wednesday, April 9, 14
  47. 47. Same question, three types multiple: good for a poll/ quick react, especially if localizing Wednesday, April 9, 14
  48. 48. Same question, three types multiple: good for a poll/ quick react, especially if localizing Wednesday, April 9, 14
  49. 49. Same question, three types multiple: good for a poll/ quick react, especially if localizing matrix: more depth/better for a feature on tech and teens vs. other groups Wednesday, April 9, 14
  50. 50. Same question, three types multiple: good for a poll/ quick react, especially if localizing matrix: more depth/better for a feature on tech and teens vs. other groups Wednesday, April 9, 14
  51. 51. Same question, three types multiple: good for a poll/ quick react, especially if localizing matrix: more depth/better for a feature on tech and teens vs. other groups text: could go either way (thoughtful, or tossed off). If you get names, you could follow up. Wednesday, April 9, 14
  52. 52. Watch your words Wednesday, April 9, 14 Question #1 emphasizes cost (“at public expense”) while Question #2 emphasizes choice (“any school, public or private”). Changing the emphasis reverses the results — if you emphasize cost, most will say no, but if you emphasize choice, most will say yes. Source: Friedman Foundation School Choice poll, 2005.
  53. 53. Watch your words Wednesday, April 9, 14 Question #1 emphasizes cost (“at public expense”) while Question #2 emphasizes choice (“any school, public or private”). Changing the emphasis reverses the results — if you emphasize cost, most will say no, but if you emphasize choice, most will say yes. Source: Friedman Foundation School Choice poll, 2005.
  54. 54. Watch your words Wednesday, April 9, 14 Question #1 emphasizes cost (“at public expense”) while Question #2 emphasizes choice (“any school, public or private”). Changing the emphasis reverses the results — if you emphasize cost, most will say no, but if you emphasize choice, most will say yes. Source: Friedman Foundation School Choice poll, 2005.
  55. 55. “Obamacare” or “Affordable Care Act”? Source: “Polling Matters,” Gallup.com, 11/20/13 Wednesday, April 9, 14
  56. 56. brainstorm two questions, of different types Wednesday, April 9, 14
  57. 57. #3. Maximize response rate analytics here Wednesday, April 9, 14 There’s always a tradeoff between anonymity and analytics. Anonymity can boost your response rate (sometimes higher esp. with controversial topics) but analytics can suffer (you can’t nag someone you can’t find). The partial surveys above on online censorship will stay that way because I can’t respond to them. Rats!
  58. 58. Analyzing results • Be humble. You have not surveyed the universe, just one group of people, and your questions could have include unintentional bias. • Write the breadbox: When and where the survey was conducted, how many in the sample, how many responded, margin of error (if you know). • Never make a survey your one-and-only piece of evidence. Support/explain with quotes, anecdotes, observation also. • Compare/contrast your results to other surveys — five years ago, by another group, in another state, by your same paper, etc. Put the data in perspective. Wednesday, April 9, 14
  59. 59. Putting results into words — rhetorical strategies • Set up/attribute: “According to a DATE survey of HOW MANY (people, students, marijuana smokers) conducted WHEN, xx PERCENT of the HOW MANY respondents (answered, replied, responded) that ...” (and now tell us what the survey says. • Use the right verbs — surveys show, indicate, hint, suggest, point towards, reveal, reflect, appear to or contrast with ... but they rarely prove. • Repeat the exact language you used in your questions, because that is what the respondent answered (not a paraphrase). • State the biggest finding first, then dig into the lesser ones. Don’t rush. Wednesday, April 9, 14
  60. 60. Beware of false comparisons Wednesday, April 9, 14 “In ‘The Marriage Crunch,’ (1986, Newsweek) reported on new demographic research from Harvard and Yale predicting that white, college- educated women who failed to marry in their 20s faced abysmal odds of ever tying the knot. According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, NEWSWEEK reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry. That comparison wasn't in the study, and even in those pre-9/11 days, it struck many people as offensive. Nonetheless, it quickly became entrenched in pop culture.” —Daniel McGinn, June 2006, Salon.com
  61. 61. Beware of false comparisons Wednesday, April 9, 14 “In ‘The Marriage Crunch,’ (1986, Newsweek) reported on new demographic research from Harvard and Yale predicting that white, college- educated women who failed to marry in their 20s faced abysmal odds of ever tying the knot. According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, NEWSWEEK reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry. That comparison wasn't in the study, and even in those pre-9/11 days, it struck many people as offensive. Nonetheless, it quickly became entrenched in pop culture.” —Daniel McGinn, June 2006, Salon.com
  62. 62. Beware of false comparisons A 40-year-old single woman “more likely to be killed by a terrorist” than to marry? Wednesday, April 9, 14 “In ‘The Marriage Crunch,’ (1986, Newsweek) reported on new demographic research from Harvard and Yale predicting that white, college- educated women who failed to marry in their 20s faced abysmal odds of ever tying the knot. According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, NEWSWEEK reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry. That comparison wasn't in the study, and even in those pre-9/11 days, it struck many people as offensive. Nonetheless, it quickly became entrenched in pop culture.” —Daniel McGinn, June 2006, Salon.com
  63. 63. Beware of false comparisons A 40-year-old single woman “more likely to be killed by a terrorist” than to marry? Wednesday, April 9, 14 “In ‘The Marriage Crunch,’ (1986, Newsweek) reported on new demographic research from Harvard and Yale predicting that white, college- educated women who failed to marry in their 20s faced abysmal odds of ever tying the knot. According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, NEWSWEEK reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry. That comparison wasn't in the study, and even in those pre-9/11 days, it struck many people as offensive. Nonetheless, it quickly became entrenched in pop culture.” —Daniel McGinn, June 2006, Salon.com
  64. 64. Beware of false comparisons A 40-year-old single woman “more likely to be killed by a terrorist” than to marry? Wednesday, April 9, 14 “In ‘The Marriage Crunch,’ (1986, Newsweek) reported on new demographic research from Harvard and Yale predicting that white, college- educated women who failed to marry in their 20s faced abysmal odds of ever tying the knot. According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, NEWSWEEK reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry. That comparison wasn't in the study, and even in those pre-9/11 days, it struck many people as offensive. Nonetheless, it quickly became entrenched in pop culture.” —Daniel McGinn, June 2006, Salon.com
  65. 65. Recommended reading/survey websites • Michael Traugott and Paul Lavrakas, The Voter’s Guide to Election Polls • Ronald Czaja and Johnny Blair, Designing Surveys • David Moore, The Super Pollsters • Limesurvey • Snapsurveys • Polldaddy Wednesday, April 9, 14
  66. 66. Beatrice Motamedi Feel free to email q’s: bymotamedi@gmail.com beatrice@newsroombythebay.com bmotamedi@urbanschool.org Wednesday, April 9, 14

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