The trials of data collection

18 09 2008

Here is a post from deep in the trenches of data collection. As I type this I have some students working away, testing my prototype application.

I am about half way through all the classes, with one more this afternoon, and two more tomorrow. So how is it going I hear you ask? Hhhhmmmm…

Let me say I am not convinced I will have all of the last data I need. It is still early days, but it points out a major issue with data collection… getting eager participants.

Mine are coming from the student population. Since all is above board with Ethics, I ask the students if they would like to participate. As is completely fair, they all have a choice if they want to participate or not, and it is stressed that they don’t have to. It is the right thing to do, but boy does it make data collection difficult! I wish I had a dollar for each person that asked “what do I get out of it?” or “yeah, but how will it help me?”!

Anyway, after canvassing students in lectures a few weeks ago, I got about 70 willing to participate which I was pretty happy with to be honest. I felt that with all the different kinds of data I was collecting I would get some good stuff. But then we come to the actual experiment.

Well, students have an interesting work ethic god bless ’em. Unfortunately it seems this week is turning out to be one of those “I have better things to do than go to programming labs” kind of weeks. So to say my numbers are low is a bit of an understatement. But we are not through it yet, so lets see how they all pan out. But I guess I am preparing for more data collection, however if the data turns out to be quite rich, then I may have enough to write up (taking into account I have done two other stages of data collection already).

I am not upset with the students… a bit disappointed maybe… but I guess it just highlights thinking of the best ways to get keen participants. I will see how I go and what I can come up with.

So fingers crossed for the rest of the week readers! Lets see how it all pans out.

… Matt