October 11th, 2010

Everyday Data: An Exciting New Adventure

(cross-posted to facebook and everydaydata.)
Dear Friends:

I think a lot of you know, I'm a pretty serious social science junkie. I am truly obsessed with figuring out what people do and why they do it. Over the course of the past year, I have been taking courses in theory, methodology, and a battery of sociological topics. I have also been preparing to conduct my thesis research on an expanded theory of student engagement at the university I am currently attending. All of this has made me thoroughly research-crazy. I can't get enough of survey design, data collection, and data analysis. It's on my mind all the time. However, my immediate trouble is that I don't have much outlet for this drive. My thesis research is stuck until I push my proposal through the approval process, and that's going to take at least a couple of weeks. And so, as I have a habit of doing, I have decided to strike out on an independent research endeavor. I'm calling it "Everyday Data."

I've created a livejournal account under the name everydaydata. This is where most of the action will happen. Here's how it's going to work:

-I will ask people what they're curious about knowing, and they can respond in comments on the LJ.
-I will choose interesting questions people pose, or interesting questions of my own, and I will design a small, casual study around it. These studies will mostly be quantitative SurveyMonkey things, but there will probably be some variation depending on the topic.
-I will put the survey into circulation through the LJ, Facebook, and Twitter, and will rely on friends to fill out the survey and pass it along to their friends.
-If enough people respond to the survey, I'll run the numbers and post the results to everydaydata, along with a discussion of what the numbers mean and what they might indicate. It might be as simple as me just saying what I think by looking at the descriptive stats, or if I get really good sample sizes, I might do more complex statistical acrobatics. It will all depend on the response.

So that's the deal. Maybe people will find it interesting, or maybe they won't. But I encourage as many of you as are willing to add "everydaydata" to your LJ friends list, and participate in this nonsense. The first survey will be coming out very soon.