Archive for the ‘Logistics’ Category
This week, I have not conducted any interviews. I have been in contact with two possible subjects for interviewing. One is a pretty prominent figure in the world of sabermetrics and another is a blogger for a popular blog that uses and writes a lot about sabermetrics. Both are what I would consider to be pretty nice finds. But of course, there’s always some kind of rub. Both would much rather do an interview over email, and obviously, this presents issues. One of the subjects is in Florida, so basically, I don’t think I really have a choice. If he doesn’t want to be interviewed over the phone, then it’s not like i can offer to meet him somewhere. The other is closer by, where I could possibly drive to talk to him. His problem is that he just had a baby and obviously, new born babies aren’t conducive to making schedules.
I’m not totally against email interviews, but I do think that there is a tradeoff and that the information has to be handled differently. The first problem is that I am going to have to write a lengthy spiel about informed consent and confidentiality. I guess, ultimately, I don’t mind. But I am worried about presenting my subjects with three pages worth of reading before I even ask a question.
Secondly, the email interviews might be less efficient. The way I would envision it, I would send a questionnaire to the subject, they would take some time to fill it out. I would guess that this would take about a week, and then they would send it back to me. If I need more clarification, then I would send another email back and then again, the person would respond Read the rest of this entry »
I decided a few weeks ago that instead of using the online survey as a pre-survey for my interview subjects, that I would use it to try and recruit more interview subjects. The good folks at the Baseball Think Factory were nice enough to post a link to their newsblog and after one and a half days, I’ve gotten 51 responses so far. I’m overwhelmed to be honest. I was hoping to maybe get four or five more people to interview, but so far, it looks like I’ll be able to get another 10-12 interviews out of this. Very exciting stuff. Anyways, if you are reading this, and want to send someone else the link to take the survey, you can send them to this site:
If you reached this site after taking the survey, let me just take a minute to say thanks, and for those who have included email addresses, I’ll be in contact with you soon.
I will probably be doing a majority of my interviews over the phone. In this age of mobile telephones, I wasn’t sure exactly how this was going to work, mostly because I have discovered that T-Mobile’s signal is terrible at my house, particularly in my bedroom at my desk. So doing them that way is a dicey proposition. Also, I really don’t know how recording cell phone calls works.
A Google search turns up a couple of options. First, you can pay a service to record your conversation for you. It basically is a three-way call between you, the person you are talking to, and a recorder that is on the site of whatever company you are using. You can then either retrieve the conversation over the phone, or you can download the .wav file. It sounds like a pretty good system, right? WRONG! 250 minutes for 100 bucks! With interviews expected to run 1 – 1.5 hours, that’s basically a hundred bucks for every two interviews. Out. Then there is a machine that you can hook up your cell phone that will record your phone conversations. It also doubles as a normal digital voice recorder, which would be super handy. but again, you run into price tag problems, as the cheapest model goes for 216 bones. Out. There’s also the option of reestablishing the landline. Like most people, we got rid of ours once everyone in the house was equipped with a cell phone. And last I remember, dealing with the phone company was a big hassle. On top of that, I’d still have to find a digital recorder that I could somehow hook up to the phone. With phone startup fees, long distance charges, and the recorder, I’d say we’re still looking at about 300 dollars total. So what am I going to do?
I’ve spent the past two days doing a lot of work for the dissertation, so please excuse my lack of posting for the last few days. I’ve got a lot to update you on, but I’ll start with getting my pre-interview survey online. While most of my data will consist of the interviews, I figured that a short survey could be used to capture some of the basic info that I needed about my subjects. These are all questions that I would ask anyways. This way, we can spend more of the interview time on the really interesting substantive topics. Also, this gives me a chance to get to know the subjects a little more and will provide me with some more information to ask questions about.
So yesterday, I stopped in the UCSB Social Science Survey Research Center to find out how to get my survey up and running on the internets. Well it turns out that even though I am a student, and the UCSB Survey Research center advertises that for students the service is available at a low cost or free, that to get my survey of 20 something questions that would be taken by no more than 50 people, it would cost me somewhere in the range of 150-200 bucks. I said, “thanks for your time,” and left. Now it’s not necessarily the center’s fault for having to charge grad students. Rather, when they came up with the idea of the center, the vision was a place that could bring in funding since they had all this technology to help whoever needed a survey put online. The way I understand it, that vision hasn’t come to be, and they are in the midst of revamping the thing to make it more accessible to students. To the director’s credit, he offered me several ways in which I might get the sociology department or UCSB to fund the thing, but given my timeline and the bureaucratic hoops that I would have to jump through, I figured that it would be more practical to just figure it out on my own.
As I alluded to in the previous post, the latest bulletin board posting blitz has been quite successful so far. I’ve gotten at least a dozen people to email me back and we are on our way to getting an honest to goodness interview schedule going. Additionally, most of the people have been good about forwarding my request for interviewees to other people and to other mailing lists. In fact, the nice folks at Baseball Think Factory put up the announcement in one of their news blogs! BTW, if you click on over you will find an amusing exchange in the comments section. As if getting interview subjects wasn’t enough, most of the people have had kind words of encouragement for my research. They’ve also directed me to a lot of good advice about conducting my research and resources that will be helpful in my research, i.e. the previous post on the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective was a result of one of these people sending me the link thinking it would be helpful. It’s been a bit humbling actually. I mean, I’m feel pretty knowledgeable about Sabermetrics, but I think pedagogically, we as researchers, often forget that we don’t nearly as much about the things we are studying, as the actual people we are studying. I must say, I’m very encouraged by all of this. Like most grad students, I’m a bit jaded and cynical about the nature of humans, but the response that I have gotten makes me hopeful that it is worthwhile to study other human beings.
Anyways, now I need to get to the business of getting things shored up for all of these interviews coming up this summer. So, without further ado, here is to do list #2.