If you look in my previous two posts, you’ll see what I assume are automatically generated surveymonkey.com requests for participants on a study on the media by Smith College students. Let me express to the Smith College students who thought this a good idea, and whatever faculty supervisor approved it, that this is Not a Good Idea. It is distracting, annoying, and unprofessional. Here, by the way, is what the link leads to:
PURPOSE OF STUDY: You are invited to participate in a research study for a political psychology seminar. The purpose of the study is to explore where people get their political information and how credible they perceive the sources to be.
CONFIDENTIALITY: The survey will be completely anonymous and participants will never be contacted post completion.
COMPENSATION: Post completion, participants will have the opportunity to be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com.
RIGHT TO REFUSE OR WITHDRAW: The decision to participate in this study is entirely up to you. You may refuse to take part in the study at any time without affecting your relationship with the investigators of this study, or Smith College. Your decision will not result in any loss or benefits to which you are otherwise entitled. You have the right not to answer any single question, as well as to withdraw completely from the study at any point during the process; additionally, you have the right to request that the researcher not use any of your research material up to that point.
RIGHT TO ASK QUESTIONS: You have the right to ask questions about this research study and to have those questions answered by us before, during or after the research. If you have any further questions about the study, at any time feel free to contact Lauren Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (413) 585-3763. If you like, a summary of the results of the study will be sent to you. If you have any other concerns about your rights as a research participant that have not been answered by the investigators, you may contact Phil Peake, Chair, the Smith College Institutional Review Board at (413) 585-3914.
Clicking the ‘Next’ button indicates that you have decided to volunteer as a research subject for this study and that you have read and understood the information provided above.
It says above, if you have any further questions … I have this one: Ms Duncan and Professor Peake, what made you think this was an acceptable use of other people’s blog comments sections? Let me ask VC commenters, am I being too nice, too nasty, or reasonable? In what ways, if any, is this different from using the VC comments to sell Viagra? (Update: Oh heck, I’ll stop being grumpy about this, though it is annoying – if you want to take the survey and support Smith College undergraduates, click through here.)