[Blindmath] Survey responses

vincent vmartin at mindspring.com
Sat Feb 13 14:42:40 CST 2010

This is what normally accompanies the notice about the survey.  Since she
asked me to do it personally and I know her as a friend, I had not seen this
before I sent out her request.

"My name is Kate Woodford. I am a senior at Agnes Scott College in Decatur
Georgia. I am a sociology major who is visually impaired. My senior research
project is on what methods blind and low vision people use to gain access to
education and employment. Respondents must be 18 years of age or older,
blind, low vision or legally blind to take the survey. Respondents can live
any where in the world and do not ever have had a job or a college education
to participate. I am looking for what your experiences are that are both
successful and non-successful in attempts to gain access to education and
employment. There is also an opportunity later on in this study to be
interviewed either in person or over the phone. If after taking the survey,
you are interested in being interviewed, there is an email address there for
you to use in contacting me about the possibility of being interviewed. All
surveys are anonymous and those who are interviewed will remain anonymous.
The survey does not track IP addresses. This helps protect the integrity of
the information provided. Please use the link below to access the survey. It
has 25 questions and should take about 15 minutes. If you would, please
forward this paragraph and the link to any one you know who is blind, low
vision or legally blind. I would also appreciate posting it on any blind
user list that you have. Thank you for your support.



Although she is using Survey Monkey, she is not having the survey site
report IP addresses!   I basically sent it to this list because of the
nature of what the subject matter normally is.  Her study is being
distributed to all types of forums, to restrict it from being a biased
sample. She actually told me that I should have said that it should be
mentioned as just a survey, instead of one for people in a particular
category.  In the past week she has had many responses from people that have
come from a variety of backgrounds and have attained education and work
experience that ranges from very little to very extensive.  As the survey
gets distributed to more and more places, the results start to look more of
what a representative sample of the population actually looks like.  

  The study and the survey had to pass the Institutional Review Board (IRB)
at her school.  None of the data collected is identifiable, unless you
select to be contacted.  Those people still retain a level of anonimity as
well, because only certain people will ever have access to their names.  She
even told me that some of the people that she are interviewing in more depth
are people that I actually know.  Of course, she can't tell me which ones,
because she wants everything to be scientific.  There will still be
safeguards put in place that will keep anyone else than her and a few others
from finding out who the respondents that she interviewed  actually are.
The (HIPA) Health insurance Privacy Act have rules in place to protect a
persons identity, but nothing is totally safe in any study.  I know this to
be true, because in my actual job, I am a research scientist!  

I am very careful to protect a person's identity, but that does not totally
keep a person 100 percent safe.  In some of the debriefings that I have had
to conduct after a study, I have had to recuse myself from doing the actual
work, because I knew the participant too well.  I even had one participant
that was a very good former student of mine and who is a personal friend
tell me that she prefers to participate in a study and then have the
debriefing done by a person or research assistant that she has never met
before.  This includes the principal investigator that I work for.  She does
not even want to talk to him as a debriefer, because she knows of his
research and knows him from past studies.  She said that she found herself
leaning toward giving answers that would make the study results seem a
certain way, instead of what she actually felt.  This is exactly the
opposite of what we are looking for, because it can lead to erroneous
results.  When you are spending $825,000 of everyone's hard earned tax
dollars per study to conduct research for blinded veterans, then we want to
make sure we get the most information for those dollars.

>I suggest not revealing any of this detailed information requested as one's

>IP address could possibly be used to determine one's location and possible 
>identity. Why would you want to arm a college student with this kind of 
>information anyways. Its up to you--just my 2.


"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is
no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
John Kenneth Galbraith

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