Posted by Tatiana
I'm in earshot of the siren call of the temptresses of number-bending. Oh, the lure, the lure! Not number bending, exactly, but we'll call it selective emphasis. I did a research project this fall about the experience of babies in labor and birth and it involved an online survey. I ended up with over 500 responses from all sorts of birth settings (I didn't only post it in natural birth cyber land, you know!) so I have this amazing spreadsheet of quantified experience. It makes me drool just thinking about it.
I can think of dozens of fascinating comparisons to make, and it's been a pleasure to get my hands dirty with collating data. I fully expected that all of that would the fruit of this experience, but I didn't anticipate that it would acquaint me with the temptation that I can now imagine faces many "real" researchers. Sitting before a mound of numbers and running various comparisons, it is very easy to say "Hmm, that set of numbers doesn't make much of an impact, don't bother listing it." or "Gee, those numbers make a statement but if I alter the definition of such and such to include this and that it might show it even more strongly, let's see.."
It's very much my style to go about these things backwards (trying my hand at research without really knowing my nose from my elbow with it, and then embarking on getting the academic foundation for how it "should" be done.) I can't help it, I learn well this way. And I totally disclosed that it was an informal survey, so don't yell at me! I know I'm not a real researcher. Just one little organism pushing my own boundaries and investigating curiosities with the tools on hand.