Many of you probably participated in my “basic research project” and others probably found it to already be closed.
Let me assure you that I collected 3 times as many female responses and 150% as many male responses as I needed to meet the requirements for the project and closed the surveys after they had been open only about 58 hours. Not too bad since I was told I should choose a different demographic because I’d never be able to find 100 people, period.
I apologize to anyone who felt mental or emotional distress while participating in the survey, I know I certainly did when I first took the survey! It’s powerfully demeaning when “the institute for the advanced study of human sexuality” obviously doesn’t recognize your answers as valid possible responses to the (already terribly phrased) questions. When I took the survey I did a lot of writing in the margins because I hated being made to misrepresent myself and hated feeling like the fact that my real answers to those questions would never be taken into consideration (because they code the responses based on which answer people chose, not on what they wrote in the margins). I know that some people wrote to the school and asked them to justify their use of the survey as a data collection tool and suggested that the survey, as it is currently used, is ethically questionable. My hope is that my report will be able to demonstrate that not only is it ethically questionable but it’s academically questionable. If 80% of my respondents marked that they were not able to accurately answer the question the way it was written and no one else asked their respondents if they were able to accurately answer the questions then what percent of people from other demographics were also not able to accurately represent themselves?? And if people couldn’t accurately represent themselves then what good are most of the responses anyway??
This turned into a bit of a rant, I apologize for that, too…
Thank you to those of you who pushed through the survey and completed it and thank you to those of you who tried but found it just too frustrating (I understand!). I’m also glad for those of you who have written that you found it cathartic to be encouraged to write about how terrible a question was, let me assure you that I will read each and every comment on every question and while I may not quote every comment in my report I will add the pages and pages of angry responses to my appendix.