Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Looking Back at Luker and the "Hook"

In chapter 8 of Salsa Dancing Into the Social Sciences, Luker discusses interviewing as a form of research.  As I first thought, interviews may seem straight forward and a simple question and answer process, however, the author shows otherwise.  Specifically, Luker's address of "hooks" in interviews show complexity of interviews and the need for researchers to approach interviews in a methodical and strategic way.

In our day and age, time is money. People are very selective in how they spend their time and what they participate in.  It seems that every other receipt, email, or website attempts to engage people in some sort of survey or participation in research, whether business, law, or academic.  Because there is such a overload of research participation requests, researchers must be smart about the way they pitch the requests to the public.

I also need to take this into consideration in the research I am proposing for this course.  I need to think about what methodology is best suited to the research I am conducting.  As the semester progresses, I am seeing more and more how much thought and strategy is required in conducting research.


  1. Your post makes a great point. I think often when we are planning our research projects, we're excited about them, and think they're great. Why wouldn't someone want to participate in it? We have to distance ourselves from what we're doing and flip the question around, as if we were being asked to participate in someone else's study. Why WOULD we want to participate? Creativity and strategy are needed indeed!

  2. Daniella and Nick,

    I agree with the points made in both of your posts. I often wonder how many people actually participate in the online surveys that pop-up when one visits many websites. How much research is there to confirm that these surveys are a reliable means of garnering useful information from the public? How reliable are they for targeting a specific group of clients/users? Do different companies choose to use online surveys because it reaches a larger audience than can now be reach through telephone surveys? Through the INF 1006 workshop, "Statistics in Canada," I've learned that the advent of cell phones has led to telephone surveys becoming less effective in terms of measuring public sentiment, as many people now choose not to have a land-line. There is no cell phone directory as of yet, so those individuals and households without a land-line are not included in the resulting sample. All this leads me to wonder how if online surveys actually are truly representative of the entire population.

  3. Michael,

    I don't think they're representative of the entire population. Just as info-glut causes users to be overwhelmed, I think survey-glut has the same effect. Even when there is an incentive to perform a survey like on the bottom of a receipt, I think people just find there's too much to do in life without taking extra time to take a short survey. Kind of intimidating for people trying to do research through survey. What kind of incentives do you think actually work on getting people to participate?

  4. Daniela,

    After reading your comment, my first thought was that a monetary incentive would be most effective type for encouraging survey participation, with responsiveness increasing in parallel with the size of the prize.

    I did a quick search for "survey incentives" on the search engine, and found a discussion of a meta-analysis of 38 studies on survey incentives. The analysis showed “that monetary and nonmonetary incentives were effective only when enclosed with the survey...The average increase in response rate for monetary and nonmonetary incentives was 19.1 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

    Most researchers have found that higher monetary incentives generally work better than smaller ones" (Statpac Inc., 2013).

    This research summary is taken from the website of StatPac, Inc., a Minnesota survey software company.


    StatPac, Inc. (2013). Using incentives for survey research. Designing Surveys and Questionnaires [online tutorial]. Retrieved from

  5. I also took this into consideration. I know that Luker states that a very small number of people actually answer surveys. I don't think there is one incentive that would work for everybody. Personally, I find that I tend to respond to surveys when the outcome will directly affect me, such as surveys about changes at my university. However, in my research proposal, I just decided to account for the large numbers of people who would most likely not reply by sending out a lot of surveys initially.