April 1, 2009

Random Sample Comes to Life

For one of my arts clients I have conducted an online survey and one of the questions asks respondents if they would be willing to participate on a focus group. First of all we had a whopping 10% response rate on our survey. Unbelievable. But then we had a 30% response of YES on focus group participation. I was hoping for 10-20 folks. We ended up with 500!

So, using my new found statistics knowledge I created a list of random numbers using an Excel macro and selected a sample from my population of respondents. Last night I facilitated the first of two focus groups and it was amazing to meet that random sample live and in person. We do it again on Thursday with another group.

What was most interesting about this sample were the similarities and differences amongst the group. Similarities were that they all live in San Francisco (not that amazing) and are all connectors in their network of friends. This actually wasn't one of our survey questions but it did tell us a lot about who loves the organization, responds to online surveys and the type of people that attend the arts programming. What was different was their ages, ethnicities, nationalities, and careers. Also, there was only one man and he definitely had the body language of, "protect me from these extroverted arts lovers."

I knew I would find a use for statistics. Now can I get a passing grade in the course?