Questions to ask when determining survey methodology

2022 presidential candidates
The top five presidential candidates of 2022 in the Philippines. From left to right: Ping Lacson, Leni Robredo, Manny Pacquiao, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Isko Moreno Domagoso. (Composite photo of the respective campaigns)

“Polling ethics is data ethics.”

A group advocating the ethical use of data and technology has backed a statement released by University of the Philippines School of Statistics following the proliferation of entities publishing polls with unclear methodologies on social media.

PH data ethics Monday stood by the statement released by UP faculty members who denounced the “widespread abuse of survey methodologies by some entities doing their own research branding” and “promoting them [on] social media.”

“We have observed these practices, including surveys not based on random sampling, such as videos of ‘kalye polls’ by some vloggers and suspicious online surveys, particularly on Twitter and Facebook. We are appalled by their cavalier disregard for data collection principles,” the faculty members said.

They stressed that the surveys “reveal facts, beliefs, feelings and opinions based on a representation of the population”.

“Sample selection strategies can generate biases in the data collected in surveys. For example, it happens when the sample tends to favor a segment of the population,” they added.

The professors also warned that the data collection processes could also “generate bias”. He cited “an interviewer deliberately affecting respondent responses” as an example.

The faculty urged the public to criticize the polls. They advised the public not to immediately accept “the results of the investigation as they are”.

According to members of the UP School of Statistics, surveys with proper implementations and controls can clearly answer the following questions:

  • How was the sample selected?
  • What sectors of a population, if any, are represented in the survey?
  • What events surround the data collection period?
  • Facing an interviewer, was the respondent questioned in a neutral but professional tone?
  • What control mechanisms are in place to ensure the accuracy of data collection protocols?

RELATED: Fake online election polls fail to meet international standards

In addition to pre-election surveys published without clear methodologies, the statistician Pierre Caytonalso a professor at the UP School of Statistics, previously denounced the publication of social media surveys that used Facebook reactions and Twitter polls as a gauge.

He said these online surveys are “poorly designed”.

“I object to online polls that are poorly designed as a simple FB/Twitter poll of likes, emojis or a click. Surely they are not representative of the pulse of the nation,” Cayton said. said last November.

READ: Who’s your presidential bet? Why Online Election Surveys Are Not Created Equal

In their statement, the professors said they would remain “vigilant in the fight for the ethical practice of statistical science, especially when data and the principles surrounding its acquisition, processing, analysis and interpretation are haphazardly manipulated. “.


Meanwhile, Cayton voiced his support for his faculty statement by reposting it and tweeting “#IStandWithUPSTAT.”

Some Filipinos also tweeted the same hashtag in support of the faculty statement.

“As a statistics student #IStandWithUPSTAT”, a twitter user wrote.

“Loud and clear! #IStandWithUPSTAT,” another online user tweeted.

The statement was released after reports of an alleged investigation conducted by SPLAT Communications showed that there was a “statistical impossibility” for the presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo Make up for lost time with Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s figures before the elections in May.

Some online users have previously questioned the entity’s legitimacy and discovered that it has YouTube videos with “unreliable and biased” contents.

A Twitter user also took a look at her channel and claimed that she appeared to be a “BBM supporter”, which are the initials of Marcos Jr.

Another online user also shared alleged screenshots of YouTube content from the page that had sensational headlines.

SPLAT Communications presents itself as a “sports” page on Facebook.

It also bills itself as an “online resource for information on sports personalities, lifestyle, arts, travel” (sic).

Meanwhile, its YouTube channel says it “provides informative, educational, and entertaining content that viewers and subscribers love.”

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