December 6, 2021

The Editor Speaks: How important and accurate are surveys?

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Colin Wilsonweb2Last Monday (15) the Cayman Islands government released the results of their Oxitec Opinion Survey. It showed a pretty staggering 69% of residents supported the Friendly Aedes aegypti Project that was launched in West Bay.

If one was to read some of the media and listened to one particular call in radio talk show one was led to believe the opinion was exactly the other way round with 69% of residents against the Project.

Oxitec Project Manager Dr. Renaud Lacroix said, “The polling was contracted to independent qualified professionals who arranged for face to face interviews throughout the island.”

Of course much skepticism at this result has been expressed and I can understand why.

“The polling was contracted to independent qualified professionals”!

Who were they and what qualified them?

These “independent qualified professionals arranged for face to face interviews throughout the island”.

Really? With whom and how were these persons contacted?

As I have stated before I have been a big supporter of the Oxitec project this time around but this Survey is absolutely rubbish.

If the quality of the data and the research is founded on non disclosure of how the research was executed and the criteria for sampling the persons who were interviewed, then the skepticism is certainly justified.

The very fact that the survey was executed by Oxitec who obviously had preconceived notions and desires, the results would be favourable is enough on its own to make one suspicious.

Were their polls replicated to see if identical analyses yielded similar results for different samples of people?

We haven’t even been given anything we can even take a cursory examination of how these figures were obtained. It is very easy to manipulate figures by carefully sifting things and selecting the samples you are taking for analysis. I know. I have done it myself.
Quite frankly, it would have been better to have left things alone and not published a piece of fiction. Because that’s what it is without any facts to back it up.

It was important for me and therefore, the public to know what was the majority opinion. Opinions are fluid and can change on a daily or even hourly basis.

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