Thursday, June 15, 2006


Data Collection

Part of my job involves collecting data from conducting surveys.
The other day I was conducting some phone interviews to determine how much money agricultural businesses spend on certain types of equipment and products.

Here is how most of my interviews went:

"How much money does your firm spend on product X on average?"
"Well, I can't really say. It varies."

OF COURSE IT VARIES!! That's why I am asking for an average--a measure of central tendency that represents a set of unequal values!

In the end, I feel like they make up whatever answer they gave me, just to get me off the phone. I’ve got answers ranging all over the place! If this job has taught me anything so far, it’s to be even more skeptical of empirical studies than I already was.

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