Thursday, May 17, 2007

I can't help but think they have a rather salient point

I sent a couple of my (Asian American guy) friends a survey on Asian American men. Below is their conversation, which they sent to me. Edits have been made for grammar, and also the gratuitous sports talk involving Phoenix and San Antonio has also been removed.

The idea was ripped from Jinxin's Conversations on Gtalk series.

J: Did you take that online survey?

N: Not yet.

N: I will before I sleep.

J: Hahaha, it asks if you a small penis.

N: But seriously, how many of those stupid ass studies do they need to do?

N: It's like every Asian American Studies grad student goes for that shit.

J: It's hella flawed when it's online like that.

N: And depending on who is doing it, it goes one way or another.

N: Asian American academia needs to do some serious quality control before they turn into a huge fucking joke.

Yeah this survey isn't well done at all, and I don't even know anything about making a survey. It just seems poorly constructed to me.

N: Goddamn, some of these questions.

N: Oh My God, he asked the penis question.

J: Hahaha.

J: I told you.

N: I swear to god, half of this messed [up] Asian American identity is retards like this guy perpetuating perpetuating it through his BS studies.

J: Well, true, I totally see what he's trying to get at.

N: I'm gonna hold a workshop for Asian American men someday.

N: It's gonna cost $500 dollars and I promise them it'll change their lives.

N: and all I'm gonna do is tell them to "be cool and do your thing."

J: Haha and give me my 500 bucks?

N: No, I'll ask for it first.

N: I'm gonna send a copy of this conversation to [lovelesscynic].


magniloquence said...


They do have a point, though. I've done those surveys (I did the AA women survey you sent me, for instance... and a 'young feminists' one going around a while ago), and daaaaaamn are those some bad surveys. Seriously. My thesis advisor would've blown a gasket. I think my department head would've kicked me out of the department and proceeded to beat me over the head with my own writing if I'd tried that.

(*gets derailed by an image of her short, rotund Department Head climbing a stepladder to bonk her on the head with a copy of her thesis*)

Everybody should be required to take a class in survey construction, basic psych, and statistical methods before being let anywhere near a survey. It's like all everyone ever gets is the Human Subjects lecture, and nobody ever gets the "hey, don't ask leading questions" and "pick metrics that are actually useful, for the love of all that is holy and pasta-based" lectures. I'm almost tempted to do a post set on them, just because it seems so foreign.

I generally get around it by hoping against hope that they're really being devious, and asking unrelated questions to get an IAT type answer, or that they're just so hardcore in their survey design that they broke up the balancing questions across versions and are going to measure it against GSS data or something like that.

lovelesscynic said...

Yes, I took one once, I think for queer Asian Americans or something, and the whole thing was like, "Do you feel bad about being queer?" "Do you feel ashamed of your ethnicity?" which finally annoyed me to the point that I just wanted to shake the Survey Monkey and say "NO, STOP ASKING!!!"

The sad thing is most of these surveys are done by grad students, surely they've had more than the human subjects lecture?