Help with research

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by elena, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. elena

    elena Guest

    I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.

    I would really appreciate it if you would complete a survey that I'm
    using for a research project on programmers.

    It's easy [Yes/No answers] and takes about 5 minutes.

    I will be presenting the results at the American Psychological
    Association convention in August.

    The study link is:

    http://www.elena.com

    The survey measures "cognitive style" (analytical/intuitive) which
    describes how you process information and learn. The people I've
    pre-tested it with found it to be pretty interesting.

    I can go to my friends, however it occurred to me that it might be
    better to post in a newsgroup and get a larger, more diverse, and
    random sample.

    Thanks again for your time,

    Elena
     
    elena, Feb 16, 2005
    #1
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  2. elena

    infobahn Guest

    elena wrote:
    >
    > I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.


    Try comp.lang.java.programmer or comp.lang.c++ (if you're not merely
    a spambot, which is the explanation that most immediately comes to
    mind).
     
    infobahn, Feb 16, 2005
    #2
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  3. elena

    Steven Guest

    Even if she is a Java or C++ programmer, shouldn't the post be in a
    phychology newsgroup?

    Interesting, she has her name (an awefully common one too) as an URL...
     
    Steven, Feb 16, 2005
    #3
  4. elena

    Steven Guest

    Even if she is a Java or C++ programmer, shouldn't the post be in a
    phychology newsgroup?

    Interesting, she has her name (an awefully common one too) as an URL...
     
    Steven, Feb 16, 2005
    #4
  5. In article <>,
    elena <> wrote:
    :I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.

    :I would really appreciate it if you would complete a survey that I'm
    :using for a research project on programmers.

    That would be "self-selection", and such a proposal would not pass
    the ethics department at any reasonable university that I have
    heard of. Or don't research studies require approval anymore?
    --
    Are we *there* yet??
     
    Walter Roberson, Feb 16, 2005
    #5
  6. elena

    Default User Guest

    Walter Roberson wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > elena <> wrote:
    > :I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.
    >
    > :I would really appreciate it if you would complete a survey that I'm
    > :using for a research project on programmers.
    >
    > That would be "self-selection", and such a proposal would not pass
    > the ethics department at any reasonable university that I have
    > heard of. Or don't research studies require approval anymore?



    Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    survey group, the results are meaningless.

    According to the web site, she's with Northcentral University, which
    seems to be one of those "distance learning" universities.

    http://www.universities.com/Distance_Learning/Northcentral_University.html



    Brian
     
    Default User, Feb 16, 2005
    #6
  7. On 16 Feb 2005 09:00:12 -0800, in comp.lang.c , "Default User"
    <> wrote:

    >Walter Roberson wrote:
    >> In article <>,
    >> elena <> wrote:
    >> :I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.
    >>
    >> :I would really appreciate it if you would complete a survey that I'm
    >> :using for a research project on programmers.
    >>
    >> That would be "self-selection", and such a proposal would not pass
    >> the ethics department at any reasonable university that I have
    >> heard of.

    >
    >
    >Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    >survey group, the results are meaningless.


    Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.
    --
    Mark McIntyre
    CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
    CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>
     
    Mark McIntyre, Feb 16, 2005
    #7
  8. On 16 Feb 2005 09:00:12 -0800, in comp.lang.c , "Default User"
    <> wrote:

    >Walter Roberson wrote:
    >> In article <>,
    >> elena <> wrote:
    >> :I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.
    >>
    >> :I would really appreciate it if you would complete a survey that I'm
    >> :using for a research project on programmers.
    >>
    >> That would be "self-selection", and such a proposal would not pass
    >> the ethics department at any reasonable university that I have
    >> heard of.

    >
    >
    >Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    >survey group, the results are meaningless.


    Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.
    --
    Mark McIntyre
    CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
    CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>
     
    Mark McIntyre, Feb 16, 2005
    #8
  9. elena

    osmium Guest

    OT:Re: Help with research

    "Mark McIntyre" Writes:

    >>Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    >>survey group, the results are meaningless.

    >
    > Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    > understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    > important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.


    How about providing an example of a self selected sample where the results
    are useful? As opposed to, interesting, say. Of course the questions are
    important. Why bring that up??

    I think this kind of sampling is done all the time and the results are
    certainly readable, but I don't know what anyone can actually *do* with such
    results. Perhaps one could refine the questions for a real survey to be
    made later. Other than that, AFAIAC, self selected samples are interesting
    but useless.

    There was a show on PBS earlier this week on Kinsey, he used nonsensical
    sampling techniques. And I suppose he made a lot of money out of it. But I
    can't think of a single reliable inference one could make based on his
    books.
     
    osmium, Feb 16, 2005
    #9
  10. On 16 Feb 2005 09:00:12 -0800, in comp.lang.c , "Default User"
    <> wrote:

    >Walter Roberson wrote:
    >> In article <>,
    >> elena <> wrote:
    >> :I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.
    >>
    >> :I would really appreciate it if you would complete a survey that I'm
    >> :using for a research project on programmers.
    >>
    >> That would be "self-selection", and such a proposal would not pass
    >> the ethics department at any reasonable university that I have
    >> heard of.

    >
    >
    >Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    >survey group, the results are meaningless.


    Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.
    --
    Mark McIntyre
    CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
    CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>
     
    Mark McIntyre, Feb 16, 2005
    #10
  11. Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    In article <>,
    osmium <> wrote:
    >"Mark McIntyre" Writes:


    >> Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    >> understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    >> important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.

    >
    >How about providing an example of a self selected sample where the results
    >are useful?


    Alumni income surveys?

    Unless you mean statistically useful, and not just useful for what you're
    trying to accomplish.


    dave

    --
    Dave Vandervies
    In such cases you may need to step outside the C standard after all.
    This will reduce its portability and thus often make it less useful,
    even while making it more useful. --Chris Torek in comp.lang.c
     
    Dave Vandervies, Feb 16, 2005
    #11
  12. elena

    elena Guest

    Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    To answer as many of these questions as possible:

    Yes, I am a software engineer with more than 25 years experience. Not a
    spambot. I used my name as a sign-in because my name was very uncommon
    in the US up to a few years ago (just a habit). Northcentral is an
    accredited university that allows me to earn a PhD (I have Masters in
    CS and Psychology) while still making a living (alghough given
    off-shoring, this may change). Sampling of this sort is valid when the
    population has certain characteristics. Self-selection is a limitation,
    but one that I am willing to accept given that I'm only looking at 2
    factors. This study concerns only Software Developers. This group
    should consist mainly of software developers. For an interesting paper
    on web research and the social sciences, see:

    http://www.psychologie.unizh.ch/sowi/reips/papers/exppsy/ExPsyReipsReprint.pdf
     
    elena, Feb 16, 2005
    #12
  13. On 16 Feb 2005 09:00:12 -0800, in comp.lang.c , "Default User"
    <> wrote:

    >Walter Roberson wrote:
    >> In article <>,
    >> elena <> wrote:
    >> :I'm a Java/C++ developer who is also studying psychology.
    >>
    >> :I would really appreciate it if you would complete a survey that I'm
    >> :using for a research project on programmers.
    >>
    >> That would be "self-selection", and such a proposal would not pass
    >> the ethics department at any reasonable university that I have
    >> heard of.

    >
    >
    >Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    >survey group, the results are meaningless.


    Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.
    --
    Mark McIntyre
    CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
    CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>
     
    Mark McIntyre, Feb 16, 2005
    #13
  14. elena

    Alan Balmer Guest

    Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 09:27:21 -0800, "osmium" <>
    wrote:

    >"Mark McIntyre" Writes:
    >
    >>>Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    >>>survey group, the results are meaningless.

    >>
    >> Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    >> understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    >> important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.

    >
    >How about providing an example of a self selected sample where the results
    >are useful?


    There may not be any ;-) However, I think *all* survey samples are
    self-selected, in that people usually make the choice as to whether to
    participate or not. Forced participation, I suspect, would result in
    even more skewed results. The professional survey people claim that
    they compensate for this effect, though I'm not convinced.

    > As opposed to, interesting, say. Of course the questions are
    >important. Why bring that up??


    Probably because the questions are the weakest part of any survey, and
    can easily swamp any bias caused by poor sampling.
    >
    >I think this kind of sampling is done all the time and the results are
    >certainly readable, but I don't know what anyone can actually *do* with such
    >results. Perhaps one could refine the questions for a real survey to be
    >made later.


    Define "real survey." Not being sarcastic, I just don't know what
    constitutes a useful survey, or how you prove it.

    > Other than that, AFAIAC, self selected samples are interesting
    >but useless.
    >
    >There was a show on PBS earlier this week on Kinsey, he used nonsensical
    >sampling techniques. And I suppose he made a lot of money out of it. But I
    >can't think of a single reliable inference one could make based on his
    >books.
    >

    You can infer that he made a bunch of money ;-)

    --
    Al Balmer
    Balmer Consulting
     
    Alan Balmer, Feb 16, 2005
    #14
  15. elena

    Alan Balmer Guest

    Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    On 16 Feb 2005 09:43:08 -0800, "elena" <> wrote:

    >To answer as many of these questions as possible:
    >
    >Yes, I am a software engineer with more than 25 years experience. Not a
    >spambot. I used my name as a sign-in because my name was very uncommon
    >in the US up to a few years ago (just a habit). Northcentral is an
    >accredited university that allows me to earn a PhD (I have Masters in
    >CS and Psychology) while still making a living (alghough given
    >off-shoring, this may change). Sampling of this sort is valid when the
    >population has certain characteristics. Self-selection is a limitation,
    >but one that I am willing to accept given that I'm only looking at 2
    >factors. This study concerns only Software Developers. This group
    >should consist mainly of software developers. For an interesting paper
    >on web research and the social sciences, see:
    >
    >http://www.psychologie.unizh.ch/sowi/reips/papers/exppsy/ExPsyReipsReprint.pdf


    A comment on the questions - The choices given are true, false, and
    uncertain. Uncertain is not a good choice, and I answered as if it
    meant "sometimes."

    Incidentally, you contribute to the self-selection problem by
    selecting those who are (1) willing to give you an email address or
    (2) willing to give you a false email address.

    --
    Al Balmer
    Balmer Consulting
     
    Alan Balmer, Feb 16, 2005
    #15
  16. elena

    elena Guest

    Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    I received similar feedback from others on the "uncertain" option.
    Actually, the survey is a well-known instrument (not my own) introduced
    in the early nineties. I'll be giving feedback to its developers.

    On self-selection, this problem varies depending on the theory being
    studied. A cognitive attribute, such as learning style, indicates a
    smaller self-selection affect. Also, self-selection will make results
    less generalizable. But that is not a concern here because I'm
    comparing software developers from 2 cultures.

    BTW, I did ask permission on the comp.lang.java.programmers group and
    got one response that basically said it was fine to ask for
    participants, as long as discussion did not occur there. I had expected
    more feedback on the level of intrusiveness, but didn't get any. So I
    figured I would just give it go and see what happened. I apologize if
    this was too far off-topic.

    Elena
     
    elena, Feb 16, 2005
    #16
  17. elena

    osmium Guest

    Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    "Alan Balmer" writes:
    >>I think this kind of sampling is done all the time and the results are
    >>certainly readable, but I don't know what anyone can actually *do* with
    >>such
    >>results. Perhaps one could refine the questions for a real survey to be
    >>made later.

    >
    > Define "real survey." Not being sarcastic, I just don't know what
    > constitutes a useful survey, or how you prove it.


    I think a real survey is possible, but one can't prove it as a mathematical
    proof. But you can prove to the standards of a civil trial in the USA.

    Consider this hypothetical:

    Q:"Have you or members of your immediate family ever rented a video tape?"

    A:
    yes 85%
    no 11%
    no response 4%.

    If this is done right you can conclude that somewhere around 80% or so of
    the non-institutionalized adults under 80 years old have indeed rented a
    video tape.

    It is hard to imagine a reason to lie to such a survey, although it will
    still happen. Questions on politics, sexuality, honesty and such-like would
    be much harder to judge.

    Note also that the respondent can almost surely understand the question and
    come up with a non-fudged answer if he wishes. It's not some fuzzy thing
    like "Are you a member of the middle class?"
     
    osmium, Feb 16, 2005
    #17
  18. Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 11:56:55 -0700, Alan Balmer
    <> wrote:

    > A comment on the questions - The choices given are true, false, and
    > uncertain. Uncertain is not a good choice, and I answered as if it
    > meant "sometimes."


    I assumed that as well.

    > Incidentally, you contribute to the self-selection problem by
    > selecting those who are (1) willing to give you an email address or
    > (2) willing to give you a false email address.


    I just left it blank, it didn't seem to complain...

    Chris C
     
    Chris Croughton, Feb 16, 2005
    #18
  19. Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    In article <>,
    osmium <> wrote:
    :Consider this hypothetical:
    :Q:"Have you or members of your immediate family ever rented a video tape?"
    :A:
    :yes 85%
    :no 11%
    :no response 4%.

    :If this is done right you can conclude that somewhere around 80% or so of
    :the non-institutionalized adults under 80 years old have indeed rented a
    :video tape.

    But it isn't done right -- instead, the question gets asked at
    video rental stores and in movie-related newsgroups. With self-
    selection, you seldom reach the non-affluent or minorities.
    People who spend a lot of time in comp.lang.c are those with
    leisure time, which implies at least moderately well off; their
    opinions and cognative styles could be quite different from the
    person who is a business programmer by day and a movie usher by night
    to make ends meet.
    --
    Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston pie.
    A bird can't whistle and neither can I. -- Pooh
     
    Walter Roberson, Feb 16, 2005
    #19
  20. Re: OT:Re: Help with research

    On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 09:27:21 -0800, in comp.lang.c , "osmium"
    <> wrote:

    >"Mark McIntyre" Writes:
    >
    >>>Walter is absolutely right. Without a properly selected and controlled
    >>>survey group, the results are meaningless.

    >>
    >> Not necessarily - a randomish sample also has meaning, provided you
    >> understand and document the nature of its randomness. Whats at least as
    >> important is the questions asked and how they're phrased.

    >
    >How about providing an example of a self selected sample where the results
    >are useful?


    Heck, even the percentage that self-select is itself useful info.

    >As opposed to, interesting, say. Of course the questions are
    >important. Why bring that up??


    Because as any fule no, the 'right' question can totally change the
    results.


    --
    Mark McIntyre
    CLC FAQ <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
    CLC readme: <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>

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    Mark McIntyre, Feb 16, 2005
    #20
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