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Making an unbiased study is not really difficult if you are willing to pay someone who has studied the science of the issue and let them control how things are asked and how participants are found. And a well-done study will publish a great deal about its methods, and usually make the raw data available so others can confirm it was done well.
Most surveys of sexual issues are poorly done. The Hite surveys were so badly done they are used to teach how to NOT do surveys. The questions were leading, and the survey population was very badly skewed. Because of this, it meant nothing about anyone other than the group who took the survey.
Of course, sex is difficult to do well even if you work at it, and sex among Christians is even more difficult. I've never seen anyone even try to do it right.
What I'd like to see is a major study done of the population as a whole, with serious Christians sorted out and examined both as a group and compared to the rest of the population. If I ever win the lottery (which would be interesting since I don't play!) I might commission such a study.
BTW, the surveys we do here and on the main site are fun and I think they sometimes give us some good insights, but they are not done in a way that makes the conclusive about anything. We put them out for fun and use them to inform what we write about. Sometimes a survey surprises me, such as the one I did here about male strokes used by a couple. Based on that I wrote a post for The XY Code that I would otherwise not have written.
Paul addressed this somewhat, but I'll add to it.Hiswifeagain wrote: ↑Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:21 am That was exactly what I was thinking. Statistics can be so strange. It seems like we can make them say whatever we want them to say. It’s so hard to know what to believe because it seems like there are no truly unbiased people designing the studies on anything these days.
It's not that hard for many things to design a proper study. For submission in certain regulated industries (for instance, with the FDA), the study design has to state the methods to be used and success criteria ahead of time before the data are collected. Any post hoc analyses done after the fact are not hypothesis testing, but instead hypothesis generating. Ideally, all people with an opinion will sign off on the methods/success criteria before the study begins so there can be no sudden objecting to things after the fact. Unfortunately, the majority of what gets published (and especially of that proclaimed to the mainstream public) comes from data mining/post hoc analysis. This in an of itself isn't horrible, but most people just don't understand the limitations and biases of that kind of work.
I am less familiar with how to avoid biased sampling from human testing, as my area is physical science, but it certainly can be done and it definitely has been done. Paul's response gave some general discussion on that.
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For example, the folks who read and post here are far more sex-positive and generally have more active and varied sex lives than Christians as a whole. So surveying them and then claiming what we got represents all Christians would be wrong.