Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trying Not To Barf, Part 2: The I'm Not a Predator Edition

So, while I work up the nerve to speak with D., who I hope will be my new advisor, I decided to distribute even more surveys at the greenbelt. I guess I am hoping that if I have loads of data collected I won’t look like such a total train wreck to Advisor #2.

The thing is, I feel so predatory when I am distributing surveys to folks. I see parents eyeing me as I approach them. Their eyes none too subtly communicate their concern with my approaching them, what with their precious, precious children, the hope for our future, so near and all. I clearly have something in hand and a purpose in mind. I feel so icky. Thankfully, this look of anxiety or accusation usually falls from their faces as soon as I explain I am a lowly master’s student, who is just trying to finish her goddamned thesis already. So! Harmless! So! Ridiculous!

(I can immediately tell if I am speaking with someone who has worked on an advanced degree; they usually grin, snap up my survey immediately and promise to return it as soon as possible, as they’ve gone through this hell themselves. It’s funny, and a bit sad, that there is such an instant camaraderie.)

Happily, I’ve had amazing success at getting these surveys returned, (somewhere around 67%) and I chalk that up to the fact that I approach these folks myself, complete with batting, pleading eyes and because I’ve included self-addressed, stamped envelopes with every survey. Look! You don’t even need a stamp. Please just complete the absurd survey and help me move on with my life!

If this process sounds half-assed, it is because this is totally crack research. WHATEVER. But, my advisor and committee—including Potential Advisor #2—approved it, so I place full blame on them. Hmmff.

But I still feel kind of crappy every time I go out to shove my surveys onto unsuspecting joggers, strollers, dog-walkers, bikers, and, you know, those adorable future Nobel Prize winners.


  1. I think part of it is that you live in a small town. If you were in DC or NYC--those things would be all over the sidewalk. Last week I got approached by someone who wanted to convert me to Scientology, and had a big booth to match. That was the last straw. Now I just say "No thanks" to whatever is being offered to me, and hurry away.

  2. Jess - absolutely! Oh, when I lived in England the Scientologists went on and on about was I happy? Was I happy enough. I was happy as a clam until they walked up to me...

  3. Can you scan them in and send them to people outside of your state? You should get us to take them. I'm a survey freak, and even part of the Gallup panel. I remember the survey I had to do for Psych class and that was tough enough to hand out. I feel for you.

  4. Dude, I'm with MrsGrumpy. I LOVE SURVEYS! What kind of survey? This is all very intriguing.

    When I was an auditor we always had to beg and plead to get our account balance confirmations back and so now when I get them I send them back IMMEDIATELY.

  5. Oh yes, how i feel for ya!

    I had to do surveys to complete my BA, a big research paper, etc., much the same as a thesis. I guess the statistics were less complex, but it was an analysis all the same.

    complete with an advisor and a committee to review it.

    The butterflies in the tummy feeling, oh I know that well!

  6. I'm w/ MrsGrumpy and Tessie, too. If we out-of-staters can participate, send those along. I'd love to fill out your survey!


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