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Data collection: A lesson in time management

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

With my survey and experiment less starting in less than two hours, I am finally feeling like things are under control.

“Just a short survey, conducting it is not a big deal,” I thought. Boy, was I wrong! The printing went smoothly, but there were additional hours I hadn’t anticipated. Folding 200 surveys takes longer than you’d think! And then I had to staple them too (three pages fold together to form a booklet).

I did get some things done ahead of schedule: The psychology department kindly lent me a box of golf pencils, I quickly used EViews to get a random number list, and my #1 assistant (i.e., my mother) got the 200 toonies for me from the bank. All seemed to be on track.

The experiment part of tonight’s research involves giving participants $2 as compensation for completing the survey. The $2 is given in three different ways. This is the part that I left to the last minute to actually put together (big mistake!).

One group of surveys has the $2 coin attached to the back, the second group has a voucher attached to the back, and the third group tells the participant to hand in their survey and that they “could donate [their compensation] to The Commons.” The random number list assigns a type of survey with the participant (much more high-tech than it sounds).

After three or four hours of tedious work this afternoon everything is on track! Somehow I managed to get everything done–most likely because I’ve been working away at bits of it all week. The lesson? Things always take longer than you think they will; be sure to leave some buffer room.

Time to have a cup of tea and enjoy the calm before the storm!

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