Sunday, August 24, 2014

Honesty in Surveying

The multitude of issues around PRCs, Bermuda status and the rights of long term residents is both complex and fraught with emotion. One way to ensure sound, fact-based decisions are made is to rely on information that is valid and beyond reproach. It is unfortunate that in making his decision regarding PRCs Minister Fahy relied on a survey conducted by  Global Research & Strategy Group Ltd., headed by two individuals who formerly owned and MindMaps. That survey, as have previous surveys by this group, violates critical tenets of data collection in such a deliberate and unethical way that their results have no reliable scientific value whatsoever. The survey fraudulently misleads the Minister, and by him disclosing it to the public in an attempt to influence residents, also fraudulently misleads the public.

I made this point in an earlier press release but no media outlet would publish my comments as they were no doubt concerned they might face a lawsuit from this company. As a consequence, I am ensuring public disclosure of the critical facts that have moved me to the conclusion that  Global Research & Strategy Group Ltd. is acting in an unethical manner and deliberately deceiving the public in its latest survey. Allowing this to go unchallenged sets a dangerous precedent for all other polling companies.

The main unethical practice with this company is that they do not engage in the random collection of data from the population they are surveying. Randomness in data collection is the critical underpinning in ensuring a representative sample and avoiding distortion or bias. This company does not do this.  On two separate occasions I was approached by data collectors who asked me to fill out forms. when I told the first individual -- a friend of one of my sons -- that this is not the way to conduct a survey, he informed me he was told by the company he could go to people he knew. On the other occasion I was in a room of 12 people and a data collector asked for everyone present to complete the survey so he could get paid. This is not randomness in data collection.

On the most recent survey, I was called by a friend of mine who told me he had given a data collector from  Global Research & Strategy Group Ltd. my number to call for an interview on the PRC issue. Within five minutes I received that call but declined to be surveyed since, again, this was not randomness in data collection.  

For a company to engage in such a fundamental breach they are clearly giving clients data that in no way is reliable on any scientific level. When the issues are as sensitive and so significant to the public as PRCs and Bermuda status, their actions descend to the level of moral repugnance and they must be called out. It is dishonest and dangerous and the public deserves better.

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