/ 22 February 2022

THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippines’ School of Statistics on Monday urged the public to be critical of survey results published online, especially those with unclear methodologies.

In a statement, professors of UP-SS raised the alarm on institutions, social media influencers and media organizations who are “abusing survey methodologies by using social media.”

“We have been observing these practices, including surveys not based on random sampling, such as videos of ‘kalye surveys’ being done by some vloggers and suspicious online surveys, especially on Twitter and Facebook,” they said.

“We are dismayed by their cavalier disregard for the principles of data gathering. We also witness PR companies, private individuals, and even some media organizations publishing results of surveys with unclear methodologies,” they added.

The statistics professors said they appreciate reputable organizations who maintain and uphold the highest standards in conducting surveys.

However, they pointed out that survey sample selection and data collection “can generate biased results.”

“For instance, this happens when the sample tends to favor a segment of the population. Data collection processes may also generate bias, such as when an interviewer purposely affects the answers of the respondents. Biased methodologies will only give biased results,” they explained.

“Thus, we call on the public to be critical of surveys in this respect. Do not immediately accept survey results as they are,” they said.

The educators also noted that questions should be asked regarding survey methods — How was the sample selected; Which sectors of the population, if any, are being represented; What events surround the period of data gathering; When facing an interviewer, was the respondent interviewed in a neutral yet professional tone; and What are the control mechanisms implemented to ensure accuracy of the protocols in data collection.

“We aspire for a statistically literate country that uses surveys for illumination and sound decision-making,” they stressed.