Dr. Daws or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love this Research Project.

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          To be completely and utterly honest I cannot really think of anything I would want to change. Not one thing. Me and my partner in this project learned a lot and developed a good working relationship. I guess for this blog I will make commentary on the process we went through to achieve our first draft of the final project.

            To begin with we had to do a literature review. We a little baffled on how to complete this assignment so away we went to Google to dig up answers on how to write a literature review. The two weeks of snowstorms did not help matters at all. This put us in a bind and seeing that first grade hurt some, but gave us  hope for a better future since we learned from we did wrong.

            Next we had the methodology paper. This might be the only one I would change. If we had the resources I would have loved to done a random sampling method. Most likely simplified random sampling of Netflix subscribers instead of convenience sampling for this project you had us do. This would allow us to gather a broader picture of how viewers feel about Netflix and everything in general. It would also eliminate the whole hindrance of people complaining on social media about us not catering to people who don’t have Netflix.

            Thirdly, we had the thematic analysis which was used to build a codebook around their existing social media. Despite this being our lowest graded paper and one of the biggest headaches we had to deal with. It was also one of the most enjoyable for me at least. Getting to see how a company like Netflix communicates with people was pretty amazing. They keep fighting the good fight and forcing cable companies to keep up (Seave, 2013).

            I guess now at the end of the post I have to change my original statement. The only thing I would change would be our sampling procedure. Everything else I would keep the same. 

Seave, A. (December 30th, 2013). Netflix to Subscribers: We Love You Just The Way You Are. Retrieved from

http://www.forbes.com/sites/avaseave/2013/12/30/netflix-to-subscribers-we-love-you-just-the-way-you-are/

Discussing research methods and UX.

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             I find qualitative the most relative to my career. Specifically interviews of subjects. The reason being is I am going into development for the web along with user experience (UX). The reason behind this is UX involves a lot of research involving users. You have to judge how users feel and interact with your page. It’s a very complicated process and takes a lot of man power to work out. People who specialize in it spend years perfecting the art of UX.

            UX involves a lot of disciplines one of which is research.  One of the biggest misconceptions about UX is it is not UI design (Flowers, 2012). UX is one of the most open ended paths to take with any web discipline. One of which is field research and face to face interviewing. Where does this fall in the spectrum of research? You guessed it, qualitative research. Doing research on UX is a one of the biggest disciplines for people who develop UX. It takes a large majority of the design process. Without research UX would be impossible to achieve and have it work correctly. Take for example Desire2Learn (D2L). If someone had simply taken the time to do some UX research on this site it would be so much better.

            The least relevant for my chosen profession would be surveys. They do not give you a large grasp of how people feel about a design. When it comes to good UX it is always a smart choice to hold focus groups and gather information from them that way. A survey is just a simple question and answer session with no commentary to full back it up. With UX you want to know people’s opinions and concerns when it comes to your project. Otherwise you can’t answer some of the most burning questions when it comes to perfecting UX.      

Flowers, Erik,  (December, 15, 2012). Ux is not UI. Retrieved from 

http://www.helloerik.com/ux-is-not-ui

 

I am too tired to think of a witty title.

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I really want to crack a joke to start off this blog post, but I will refrain. Reading the study the author brings in a lot of discussion about statistics, but within the context of the research I will say this is a thematic analysis. He brings up points about how the authors use the words in the context of the books. The author seems to bounce around each thematic element touching on how each author handles their characters differently and he uses his research about the adjectives showing how the characters grow and change which is a neat observation. (Blatt, 2013)  With thematic analysis as we discussed in class we look for emotions or feelings, it’s like qualitative research, but instead of interviewing a person were interviewing raw information.

On the practicality of this research that’s an interesting subject. On one end anything that shows that these books can be broken down into a formula that sells to a demographic (Just like the entertainment industry) makes the cynic in me scream with happiness. On the other end of the spectrum I like to think that there is value in every bit of research no matter what it is for good or for worse. This research has shown how these books can appeal to young adults and wider audiences outside of the preteen demographic. I mean we have TwiMoms (Moms who love Twilight, this is a real thing and its creepy) and some men who follow these young adult books targeted at females with a fervor that would scare some drug addicts. Words have a very profound effect on people. It’s amazing the amount of power that a book can have over our emotions or personality based on the words used in its writing.

What I learned from this is that, “Hunger Games”, seems to appeal to a larger number of people who have a disdain for authority, group worth, and being told what they can’t or can’t do. “Twilight”, appeals to an emotional level, by expressing emotions in such a simplistic way it pulls at the heart strings of the readers and people who haven’t developed emotional fortitude of any kind. Harry Potter appeals to wonder and the allure of imagination by using a lot of words to build the world and give us a sense of wonder. 

Works Cited

Blatt, Ben. (November,20th,2013). A Textual Analysis of The Hunger Games Retrieved from

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2013/11/hunger_games_catching_fire_a_textual_analysis_of_suzanne_collins_novels.html

Marietta and research things.

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Oh joy a study for the city of Marietta. To begin with I would set up a qualitative study that would be sent out to a random number of residents. For this example we will use 1,000 truly randomly selected individuals. With a project like this everyone should have a chance to chime in and gives us their opinion.

We will pull the participants via tax records and voter registration cards. I am going to assume for them to be counted in the 67,000 residents they should either be a registered voter or a tax payer. The interviews will be held in their personal homes or at a location of their choosing. The questionnaire will be a simple set of questions to judge what people want from their city and what we could change and what kind of growth they want to see the mayor and the city council to push through.

Once this data has been gathered, analyzed, and reviewed. We will use it to help develop a survey that will be sent out to a larger number of participants. This will be used to spear head the next big community project. Using the data found through the interviews this will allow us to a construct a very concise survey with the options that people want.

Once the survey is finished and the data calculated I will present this to the mayor as a stepping point for the next project. I feel that using these methods will be able to give the people what they want. 

I am going to assume that the city’s budget will allows us to both qualitative and quantitative to reach a true answer (Mora, 2010). The reason I chose to start with qualitative is it allows you to test the waters so to speak and allow us to get an idea of what people in Marietta want. Once the data is gathered it can be refined into a quantitative study to help finalize the research for the mayor. I think this approach would provide the city with a good starting point for a new project and to help Marietta grow. 

Works Cited

Michaela, Mora. (March, 26, 2010). Quantitative Vs. Qualitative Research – When to Use Which. Retrieved  from http://www.surveygizmo.com/survey-blog/quantitative-qualitative-research/

Blog # 6

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Qualitative versus Quantitative research is an interesting discussion to say the least. To discuss the two one has to know the key differences between them. Let’s begin with qualitative research.

The main driving purpose of qualitative research is to gain an understanding of underlying reasons or motivations for a specific purpose and qualitative is more quality over quantity. It can also be used to provide insights into a setting or helping generate a hypothesis for later quantitative research. The sample size of qualitative is usually a small number of non-representative cases. The subjects selected are expected to complete a given quota. Data collection methods for qualitative vary, but are usually unstructured or semi-structured techniques such as one on one interviews or group discussions.  The data found from qualitative data is exploratory in nature.  Findings are not useful for making generalizations about the group used for the survey.  Next up is quantitative research.

Quantitative research is the inverse of qualitative. It is more quantity over quality. The main idea behind quantitative research is to gather a large amount of data and generalize the results from the sample to the population that is the subject of the research. In other terms it’s used to gauge a response by gathering a large number of answers. The sample size for quantitative is usually very large. The sample size is also randomly selected. Collecting data consists of surveys, structured questionnaires, and interviews on street or via telephone. The data collected from this method consists of mostly statistical information. Findings are usually conclusive and descriptive in their nature.

Qualitative research can tell us more about how or why a group of subjects have come to a decision. Quantitative just tells us how many are for or against a certain topic, subject, etc. Its Qualitative is also a lot more personnel with the data gathering. It allows you to find out why you have a problem.

A good example of a qualitative research method would be unstructured and group interviews which generate qualitative data through the use of open questions (McLeod, 2008). This gives the interviewer the chance to get to know the respondent better and allow the respondent in this example to give their full understanding and opinion on a topic.  The one drawback of this approach is the time it takes. 

Works Cited

McLeod, S. (2008). Qualitative Quantitative. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/qualitative-quantitative.html

Blog # 5, To survey or not to survey is the question.

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Questionnaires and surveys can be amazing for research. They can allow you to gather a large amount of data (Depending on group size) and use that in your research. You can also use this information to help formulate the general view or opinion on a topic, how often someone does something, or anything else that strikes your fancy. 

Now you may be asking which to use for your research. Well that is a tough question to answer. In all honesty it really depends on a few factors. The biggest ones for using a survey being you need a quick way of getting information(Hampton,Vilela,n.d.), you need to reach a large number of people, you need information that is valid on a large scale to a group of people, and the information you need isn’t readily available. Conducting a survey can be done very simply or it can be as complicated as you want. This is determined by how much you ask and the number of people you give it to. 

The information yielded from doing a survey or questionnaires depends on the questions you use. You have to make sure that the questions you pick and the choices you give reflect the information you’re trying to gather. For example, if you are conducting a survey on whether people like vanilla or chocolate ice cream you wouldn’t put a question on there asking which Star Wars movie was their favorite unless of course you were trying to find a correlation between ice cream and Star Wars. 

Now you’re most likely saying, “Wow Mr.Blogger!, Please tell me more and give examples of when or when not to use these research methods.”, well reader that time is now. So strap your boots on tight and get ready to go on the research roller coaster of research do’s and don’ts!. 

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5302a1.htm – This is an example of when a survey is a good thing. 

The forefront of this research was to look into risk behavior of youth. They selected a number of high schools using the grade range of 9-12 and conducted surveys on them to gather their data. What followed was a wealth of information that linked directly into what they were researching. Now could you imagine if they tried to do this without surveys and only researched causes of death? This allowed them to gather first hand data from the group of people (population) they were studying. The results are an interesting read to. 

 

Now for an example of when you shouldn’t do a survey. Imagine if you will that you are an inventor. You have just made a new invention, we shall call it “The Machine That Dings” (TMTD). You’re really excited about getting this new invention out on the open market, but first you want to make sure you have done everything you can to make sure the TMTD is the top dinging machine and people will want to buy it. You only have one version of the machine so you have to provide pictures and videos of the TMTD to show people, but no actual prototype for them to use and try out. 

This is a big bad horrible idea to use a survey/questionnaire. The reasons being, you do not have a lot of money after building your invention, you don’t know much about your target audience, you want to use this survey was a way to figure out how much you want to invest into mass producing this new invention. 

Knowing when and where to use these research tools is just as important on how to use them effectively. 

Works Cited

Hampton, C. Vilela, M. (n.d.). Section 13. Conducting Surveys. Retrieved from 

http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/conduct-surveys/main

OkCupid and the man who cracked it.

ImageOkcupid is one of the most popular free dating sites on the internet today. It uses a complex algorithm to match people based on a vast questionnaire. People can also rate how much these questions mean to them. This allows the magical Okcupid computer to match people better.

Now you may be asking what would happen if someone figured out how to manipulate this data and algorithm to his own means?  Well turns out someone did and he was a mathematician of all things.

Chris McKinlay used his knowledge of mathematics and statistics to find his perfect “Match.” He actually started out on the site as a normal user and went about it like a normal person would, but it dawned on him that he should start thinking like a Mathematician instead of a normal person.

Normally Okcupid asks on average 350 questions to a user and uses that for matching potential matches. The problem with this approach is when you have a question bank of over one thousand questions some of them get left out among other various problems.

McKinlay set up multiple fake profiles to gather information from women from all around the country. Using his college’s computer and a form of true random sampling (Davies,2007) he harvested over 6 million questions. Using this information and a text analysis of all the data he collected he created the “Perfect” profile and it worked quite well.

The methods which he used for this were very sound and mathematical. It made sense. Okcupid was actually created by math majors at Harvard and started in 2004. This guy literally took what they had created and tweaked it to his own ends. I for one can’t really fault him. The only ethical mishaps that could be drawn from this are he turned into a “Player” of some sorts. Instead of the guy who goes out to the bar and finds a different girl every night he simply used a computer and his knowledge of mathematics. It’s quite intriguing,

The data he gathered was as good as he could get. You have to hope for the women his bots surveyed were answering honestly because with everything on the internet it could be false. At the same time it could be considered quite cynical what he did. He took all these individuals and broke them down to a number.

Everything that makes them a person he took it, gave it a value, and plugged it back into a computer. It’s slightly unnerving when you think about it. Again though this shows how much society has changed and how someone who might not have the greatest social skills (Such as a mathematician) can still get dates and find someone to fall in love with. All in all it’s quite heartwarming.

Davies, M. (2007). Doing a successful research project: Using qualitative or quantitative methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.