Monday, February 3, 2014

The melancholy about data survey

Today, I was involved in some tasks regarding data analysis.

Analyzing data is one of the essential parts of researchers' work. The data include a lot of kinds, such as blood samples, personal information about the patients, and the answers to a questionnaire. Each type has their own importance.

Questionnaire survey is one of the main streams in my research topic, social psychiatry. Since there are rarely objective data in this region, we have to rely on the sense of the subjects. It is not true that authority's opinion is trustworthy without any doubt. Nonetheless, gathering the opinions based on some structured rules is a powerful method to detect a theorem, or at least to construct a consensus about it.

Thus, we endeavor to develop a questionnaire. How to create a proper answer sheet itself is worthy of research. Delivered an arbitrary questionnaire, gathered replies would be twisted. I often see a survey intentionally misdirected to a suitable conclusion for the commissioner. It is quite difficult to develop a neutral questionnaire. In contrast, whether we can drive an image into the participants through a survey is another matter, although it is doubtful to prove it as ethical.

On the other hand, we always have to struggle against the inappropriateness of the answer sheets we received after the survey. Some participants misunderstand the intention of the questionnaire. Blank cells are also enemy to us. Additionally, we are suffering from letters which are hardly readable.

After overcoming several troubles, we complete the survey. In most cases, the conclusion is not surprising. It is usually in our imagination in advance. So, questionnaire surveys are not used for innovation, but for, the confirmation of intuitive hypothesis. It is also adequately valuable to change these images into a solid theory.

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