Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The power of surveys

I received the following communication in response to a blog post from some time ago:

"Having met many many evangelical pastors, and knowing the high rate of evangelical divorce, and knowing how many of the pastors now, most of them wrongfully counsel divorce, I next had rightfully concluded that most evangelical pastors are sex maniacs, also confirmed in the light that 70 percent of them in reliable survey had admitted to having committed adultery" (emphasis mine).

My point is not to give this person a bad time but rather to point out how we use survey references as a marker of what is really true. Simply saying that most pastors have affairs (which, by the way, is something that I sincerely doubt) is not that believable, but saying that this information comes from a survey somehow makes it seem more creditable.

Tired of having regular old opinions? Say that you get them from a survey--that will get you listened to!


5 comments:

Corey said...

Are you suggesting that surveys are complicated by measurement & sampling error?

What is the world coming too?

Anonymous said...

Its ok, they're all going to hell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTOffYj5TxU&feature=related

J. R. Miller said...

I am sure I read somewhere that fully 10% of surveys results are made up and only 5% off all surveys are reliable... now the trouble is telling which category these number comes from. :-)

Joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Wright said...

I know, Corey, shocking.

I didn't know that, JR, but if you read it somewhere that it's a survey, it must be true!