Monday, April 09, 2018

Os falsos resultados nos inquéritos a adolescentes

'Mischievous Responders' Confound Research On Teens, por Anya Kamenetz (NPR):

Teenagers face some serious issues: drugs, bullying, sexual violence, depression, gangs. They don't always like to talk about these things with adults.

One way that researchers and educators can get around that is to give teens a survey — a simple, anonymous questionnaire they can fill out by themselves without any grown-ups hovering over them. (...) chool districts use them to gather data; so do the federal government, states and independent researchers.

But a new research paper points out one huge potential flaw in all this research: kids who skew the results by making stuff up for a giggle. (...)

"We were interested in the disparities between LGBT and non-LGBT youth in suicidal ideation, feelings of belonging, text-message bullying," he recalls. "One of our reviewers asked us, 'How do you know these kids are actually gay?' And giving some thought to it, we said, 'Let's figure out who those kids are.' "
Robinson-Cimpian and his co-author came up with a clever test.

They chose a set of answers on the survey — questions with responses that adolescents were likely to find funny, but ones that were statistically unlikely to be related to being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Their height, for example.

The more of these way-off-base answers that someone gave on these questions, the researchers surmised, the more likely they were to be lying about being LGBT as well.

And they did find a correlation. For example, 41 percent of the students who claimed they were transgender also claimed to be extremely tall or short, and the same percentage also claimed they were in a gang.

This is important because researchers are often the most interested in minority groups, and so the undetected presence of a small number of jokesters can seriously mess up results.

In a 2003 study, 19 percent of teens who claimed to be adopted actually weren't, according to follow-up interviews with their parents. When you excluded these kids (who also gave extreme responses on other items), the study no longer found a significant difference between adopted children and those who weren't on behaviors like drug use, drinking and skipping school. The paper had to be retracted. In yet another survey, fully 99 percent of 253 students who claimed to use an artificial limb were just kidding

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