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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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10 Responses

  1. phira
    phira April 12, 2010 at 11:26 am |

    Actually, it IS irresponsible to report the study’s finding this way. You’re not even nit-picking; if the scientists who wrote the paper made the same statements as the writers of the article about the study, the study would have been torn apart in review.

  2. a lawyer
    a lawyer April 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm |

    I think a convenience sample may be generalizable to other individuals with the same general distribution of traits. It may at least be generalizable to white heterosexual college freshmen in the U.S. Or maybe the South? It’s a pretty minimal finding but the world of social science is filled with minimal findings.

  3. Brennan
    Brennan April 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm |

    You know how sociologists often get “convenience samples” of first-year undergraduates? They stand around dining halls and dorm commons offering candy bars to anyone who will fill out a survey. It’s a very scientific process, obviously. It’s meant mostly to raise new questions and open new avenues of research. And then some idiot writes an article misreporting their data and generalizing it to the entire population. Gah!

  4. matlun
    matlun April 12, 2010 at 2:20 pm |

    The “convenience sample” consisted of students from one specific university. A common sense analysis should tell everyone that this sample will not be representative for society as a whole. For example my (anecdotal) experiences tell me that many of the male students that preferred hook-ups will have changed their opinions within a few years.

    That being said, I think this could still be an interesting study (hard to say without reading the source study). It clearly illustrates that there are gender differences in dating patterns (which should not be surprising to anyone) and makes an attempt to document these differences.

    PS. Small nitpick: It was 150 women and 71 men. Not 150 and 75.

  5. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos April 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm |

    Well yes. There are problems with generalization from a convenience sample. The proper response isn’t “hurr durr, convenience sample.” It’s recruiting a better sample with a larger cross-section of participants.

    But I despair about reading good write-ups of social science research anymore.

  6. Thomas
    Thomas April 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm |

    Can the mainstream media simply give up reporting science results? Reading media reports of what one study finds, outside the context of the body or research to which it belongs, is not very useful even if they properly report the results, which so often they don’t.

  7. Gembird
    Gembird April 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm |

    Gah. Stuff like this makes me want to cry. Articles about studies written by people who don’t understand the scientific method (or the limitations thereof, or the fact that we talk about confounding factors for damn good reasons) always, ALWAYS get things horribly wrong. They make conclusions that aren’t in the paper they’re talking about. They sometimes just make stuff up. A lot of the time, they’re not even talking about peer-reviewed articles- there was one example here in Britain where a newspaper article pretty much extrapolated bullshit from a Masters student’s final project and the student was horrified that nobody would listen to her protests without being like, “Oh so you take it all back now eh?”

    I don’t know if it’s just ignorance- which can be solved easily if people are willing to listen to us nerds every once in a while- or contempt for sciences (both ‘hard’ and social sciences, we all get the same treatment) but whatever it is, it bugs me.

  8. Athenia
    Athenia April 12, 2010 at 5:02 pm |

    I could be wrong about this, but I hear women usually want to hook up when they’re on vacation. SO THERE!

  9. a lawyer
    a lawyer April 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm |

    But I despair about reading good write-ups of social science research anymore.

    I don’t think they’re any better with the hard sciences.

  10. Trina
    Trina April 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm |

    They’re definitely not – Bad Science can barely keep up with the nonsense. When presented with any evidence the media usually wander off to the point they wanted to make in the first place, especially with all this “men want sex, women want relationships” crap and anything about cancer.

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