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George's Office Wall

All solutions have problems; it’s always a matter of which problems are the best ones to deal with.

“`enough solar energy hits the earth’s surface in about an hour to equal a year’s worth of worldwide energy consumption from all sources put together.'” [Ashlee Vance; quoted in John Lanchester, “Let’s all go to Mars”, London Review of Books,, 9/10/2015, p. 7]

“most corporate mission statements are so numbing they’d be useful as a form of medical anesthesia” [John Lanchester, “Let’s all go to Mars”, London Review of Books, 9/10/2015, p. 5]

“Art is a matter of daily, hourly grind”. [Julian Barnes, “Selfie with `Sunflowers'". London Review of Books, 7/30/2015. Barnes is referring to Van Gough, but I think this applies to essentially every significant accomplishment.]

“70 per cent of the prisoners in French jails are Muslims”. [Adam Shatz, "Magical Thinking about Isis”, London Review of Books, 12/3/2015.]

For more of George's Office Wall, visit my blog post GEORGE'S OFFICE WALL.



The most recent review of my book, The Problem with Survey Research, is by Professor Floyd Fowler and, using his own words, I’ve titled his review:

No Informed Person Would Dispute His Core Premise

[P]resent[s] evidence . . . that the topic, the ways questions are worded, the mode of data collection, and . . . askers themselves, affect answers in ways that clearly imply error.

[C]riticizes researchers for ignoring or downplaying known sources of error such as biased and undefined sample frames and low response rates. . . . also criticizes researchers who use monetary incentives (“bribes”) to improve response rates

[E]xtensively footnoted and referenced

No informed person would dispute his core premise that there is plenty of error in surveys that . . . can produce distorted results [emphasis added].

---Floyd J. Fowler, Jr., Contemporary Sociology, Sept. 2014, vol. 43, no. 5, 660-62

New York Review of Books Review

My book, The Problem with Survey Research, is reviewed in the New York Review of Books by Andrew Hacker: “an unabashed. . . . spirited. . . . indictment of surveys. . . . `The flaws of polls,’ he writes, `are so extensive and severe that survey research, as a method for finding out what’s really going on, should be abandoned’ . . . the issues he raises are important. . . . For one thing, `respondents lie’ or `do not have relevant and correct information.’ For another, `question wording skews results.’ Those who sponsor research `disguise, or hide’ its `actual or primary purpose.’ Even location matters. The answers given in classrooms differ from those given in dormitories, even when both are anonymous. Beam’s advice: `If you want to find out what’s really going on, don’t ask’”.
For the complete review, click here.