Surveying the Survey

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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This past week the dance orientated website based at Sadlers Wells in London and funded by Arts Council England released the results of their survey, conducted online several months ago. Upon review some of the results harvested from 'over 1300 respondents' would appear to be wholly unreliable when the method in which the results were obtained is put under the spotlight.

Almost all of the results gathered from the survey were positive about the respondents experience with the website and some might say the responses were overly enthusiastic.

In the summary of the report the author, Hans de Kretser, freely admits that not all 'respondents' completed the questionnaire. Sources at MORI, one of the UK's biggest polling company's, told us that is a fundamental problem with any survey. You simply do not include incomplete results. They also told us that you must make sure the survey can only be completed once per respondent, numerous methods are available for doing that online.

When Article19 tested the survey when it was online we found there was no mechanism in place to stop multiple entries, we sent in three separate entries to test the system, and there was no mechanism for preventing users from answering single choice questions with multiple answers.

Leading websites such as CNN place prominent disclaimers on web based polls along the lines of;

"This QuickVote is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole. The QuickVote sponsor is not responsible for content, functionality or the opinions expressed therein."

Although in the summary Mr de Kretser admits the survey only reflects the opinions of those that visited the site there seems to be little concern at the scientific validity of the results or the fundamental flaws in how they were gathered.

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