Friday, April 6, 2007

Circular Logic

Recently DP posted its survey results on their head honcho Partix’s page and since I was one of the persons to take the survey, I thought I will go and take a look at it. The first thing that struck me was the fact that in almost all of their questions, my answer coincided with the histogram with the biggest peak. So, I guess I am either precisely the average DP reader or I am precisely the average DP reader that is likely to take their survey. Which of the above is true? Or rather how large is the intersection between the two sets?

For example, let me take the fact that most of the survey takers were between 24-34 in age and they said post graduate as their education level. Now, suppose I loosely assume that all these people are grad students and treat Jorge Cham’s picture of a grad student as typical, then as shown in the PHD comic alongside, the chosen method of time wasting (which for those of you who don’t know is the primary occupation of most grad students most of the time) is web surfing. So I can conclude one of two things. Most DP readers are grad students or that among the DP readers the ones that took the survey were the most jobless folks, namely the frustrated grad students :). The two are dramatically different conclusions. Wonder what the pundits made out of these results? :)


Patrix said...

I would have concluded that most of the readers that took the survey are student but for the question that asked them about their profession. Only 21% responded that they were students while the large majority said, Professional or Management. Mind you, these folks can have a post graduate degree so assuming that those with a post graduate degree are only students might be faulty. And post graduate has a different connotation in the U.S and India.

So there...more confusion :)If only I could force all DP readers to take the survey to get a better sense(isn't that the wish of all survey research practitioners) But I guess this still tells us a lot.

CuriousCat said...

Did you know that most grad students think os themselves as professional patrix?:)) And BTW why did n't you ask the geography question?

Patrix said...

>> Did you know that most grad students think os themselves as professional

Whoa! I must change my business cards in that case :)

>> BTW why did n't you ask the geography question?

Because we already have the information from our stats.

vatsan said...

I beg to differ with your conclusions.

first, there is a cost to taking the survey, i guess there are about 20 questions, and the cost is sitting in front of a computer and wasting time.

this means that only the utterly jobless take this survey, and the cost of using a computer for the 10 minutes shud be very small for them to take the survey. it should be so low that it is equal to the benefit they derive from the survey, im basically saying they shud have oc access to internet, and the marginal cost of speding 10 minutes on this survey shud be close to zero.

so under this circumstance, id wud say there r two kinds of people one is the vetti grad students, and second vetti IT programmers in india/elsewhere.

from this i can draw two conclusions, namely

1) india has too many vetti apeeciers working in the IT industry (aside i shud remember to get into the IT industry, despite being an economist)

2) grad students are jobless and frustrated.

indha madri veti data analysis ellam leave to economists, evloav scene pottu, assumptions use panni analyse pannarom illai ;)

CuriousCat said...

Vatsan : Bowing to the superiority of the economist!:) Super Vatsan sir, super!

Patrix: You are one kind soul...come all the way to answer my arbit comments!:) Love you! :)

Anil P said...

It does tell something, if not a lot.

CuriousCat said...

Yes Anil, sure it does..this post is just wondering what exactly.