Publishing Fear Free

Author Survey and Bias

Authors JA Konrath and Lisa Grace discuss DBW’s Author Survey:

Here are the survey questions that we thought were problematic, with our fair use critique and comments.

Question: Have you had at least one book published (either traditionally or self-published)?

Lisa: Okay, I thought this survey was for published authors. Yet, a surprising amount of non-published writers are posting.

Survey over for them, right? Read more here.

The problem with many “scientific surveys” is that they forget to use the scientific method. According to sciencebuddies.com and every high school science teacher, the scientific method is:

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

Please note that it says “test” your hypothesis. You can make a guess at the results of your survey, but that doesn’t mean you construct a survey so that you will get the results you want. That’s called bias. Yes, it happens every day in “science” and politics etc, but that doesn’t make it right.

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