All the time we hear that surveys or studies say this or that. I'm always wary when I hear phrases like, "studies show" or "surveys reveal" without attribution. A particularly good one is the passive, "it is said."
I suspect that some of the results come from, or did come from, the story I tell below.
When I was in grades 7 through 9, at that time called "junior high", I remember an almost weekly ritual in home room (the first mini period of the day set aside for attendance taking and other bureaucratic matters). The homeroom teacher would find a manila envelope on her/his desk with slips of paper that were the week's survey.
Some teachers said nothing more than "mark these and pass them back in," while I remember other teachers complaining about the event.
The teachers who complained said things along these lines:
- "This takes time that I'm supposed to use in other ways."
- "I'm supposed to tell you that this is required, but do what you want and hand the slip back in."
- "I don't know who these are from nor how they will be used, so it's up to you."
- "I've had it with this shit."
I am just kidding on the last one, though my band director would have been likely to have said something like that. He was a great man.
Often the surveys were about lifestyle, like diet and exercise. The nosiest ones were about drug use. I was tired of these things and was agreeing with the complaining teachers, so after a few of them, I started to act up (on paper).
The best one was one of the illegal drug use ones. I answered something like this:
- Q1: Which of the following drugs have you used in the past month? (I liked the sound of LSD and heroin, so I marked those.)
- Q2: How long have you used the selections marked above? (I put "one year" to be believable. I didn't want to push it back into elementary school.)
- Q3: When was the last time you used any of the selections above? (Past 24 hours!)
About a year later I was reading a magazine and saw a shocking factoid: "76% of school students between the ages of 13 and 16 have used illegal drugs!" It then gave a breakdown of which ones and frequency of use.
OMG, I was not alone!