How not to do a Survey

Vin Suprynowicz writes in

A 2003 poll of 530 climatologists in 27 countries showed 34.7 percent of interviewees endorsed the notion that a substantial part of the current global warming trend – which might see temperatures rise by a degree or two, on average, by century’s end – is caused by man’s industrial activities: driving cars and the like.

How credible is that? Okay, let’s rephrase it: say, you want to make a survey of climatologists. How would you proceed? I think it is pretty simple: get a list of known climatologists, email them a question, to which they can reply. Pretty simple, huh? But this is not how this study was done. Instead, they chose to use a password protected web form and sent the link to the climatologists. This looks like the second best method. Think for a moment how you would do that. Would you send every participant the same password? Yes? Think again. Why not? Yeah, this is exactly what happened:

However, the information about the survey was reposted (mail list membership required to read link) to the climatesceptics mail list by Timo Hämeranta on Sep 20 2003

the survey (below) is directed to those involved in the natural sciences related to climate change and not, for example, those involved in policy analysis or economic issues.

I suggest that you participate by completing the questionnaire (instructions to participate below).

Lähettäjä: CLIMLIST Climatology Distribution List
[mailto:CLIMLIST@…] Puolesta CLIMLIST
Lähetetty: 19. syyskuuta 2003 18:12
Vastaanottaja: CLIMLIST@…
Aihe: Survey of Climate Scientists
CLIMLIST Mailing Number 03-09-24
Origin: “Dr. Dennis Bray”

Due to the nature of the distribution of electronic surveys some recipients of this message might have received the same previously. If that is the case, my apologies. Please do not submit the survey twice, although, once would be much appreciated. The survey is directed to those involved in the natural sciences related to climate change and not, for example, those involved in policy analysis or economic issues. Your discretion in choosing to participate in the survey on this basis would be greatly appreciated, as would your cooperation in making the survey a success. If you know of colleagues not contained on climlist but involved in the climate sciences, it would be appreciated if you could bring this survey to their attention with the suggestion that they too might like to participate by completing the questionnaire. Simply forwarding this message is likely the most convenient method.

… If you do choose to participate, the survey can be reached by opening your web browser and going to the following link:

When the page opens click the link to “survey of climate scientists” Here you will be asked for a username and password.

For username enter “respondent” (without quotation marks)

For password enter “ccsurvey” (again without the quotation marks).

The study is completely worthless.


1 Comment

Filed under global warming

One response to “How not to do a Survey

  1. Hello, I found your blog when i was surfing for sites related to survey. I wanted to tell you, your site is good. I like the layout too, its nice. I don’t have the time at the moment to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and I also subscribed for your RSS feed. I will return in a night or two. Thanks for an informative blog.