As a marketer researcher, following many surveys running on the web, I often protest against quoting surveys that were not correctly sampled. This issue was recently discussed when I was following Chinese reports concerning the internet as a source of mental disorders (this is what I referred to “intentional mis-use of surveys”).
The survey, aimed to follow career women’s self perceptions and goals, was gathered among those who attended Microsoft Small Business conferences. No doubt that this sample may represent women who are not web oriented who came for training. The results were presented to the public through Microsoft PR, quickly to be followed by The Wall Street Journal.
According to this survey:
only 39 percent of those attending the conference are using the Web to manage and market their businesses.
The Wall Street Journal, although calls for sample problems, addresses the question: “are women uncomfortable navigating the fast-changing world of online marketing?”
This here is a great example how we can encourage biases! This can easily lead to wrong perception of women in general, especially when presented by trusted corporations as Microsoft and publishers as The Wall Street Journal. I wonder why Microsoft, who claims to have intentions to encourage women in business, published this survey. I wonder why The Wall Street Journal, carelessly continued this discussion by spreading it further with a title as: “Women Business Owners — Afraid of Web Marketing?”
Do you see my point? with a title like this – who will remember the non-representative sample?
How can this be stopped?