Sampling (statistics)/Example/Shere Hite - American sexology
Shere Hite conducted a famous survey of American male-female relations in the early 1980's.
- Shere Hite ‘doyenne of sex polls’
- Media furors & worldwide attention
- 127-item questionnaire about marriage & relations between sexes
- Sample: 4500 USA women, 14 to 85 years
- Conclusion: Society and men need to change to improve lives of women
Some of Hite’s findings about American women
- Only 13% married for 2+years were still in love
- 70% married for 5+ years were having affairs...usually more for 'emotional closeness’ than sex
- 76% of these women did not feel guilty
- 87% had a closer female friend than husband
- 98% wanted “basic changes” to love relationships
- 84% were emotionally unsatisfied
- 95% reported emotional & psychological harassment from their men
Some of the critical comments "She goes in with prejudice & comes out with a statistic."
- "The survey often seems merely to provide an occasion for the author’s own male-bashing diatribes."
- "Hite uses statistics to bolster her opinion that American women are justifiably fed up with American men."
Hite's response rate & selection bias
- 100,000 questionnaires were sent to a variety of women’s groups (feminist organisations, church groups, garden clubs etc.)
- 4,500 replied (4.5% return rate)
- “We get pretty nervous if respondents in our survey go under 70%. Respondents to surveys differ from nonrespondents in one important way: they go to the trouble of filling out what in this case was a very long, complicated, and personal questionnaire.” - Regina Herzog, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research
Lessons from Hite's male-female relations survey
- Sample size – it's not how big, it's how representative
- Objectivity – watch out for manipulating the survey questions and results interpretation to suit your personal conjectures