The Comm and Gender Spot

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No Shows: The Plague of Experimental Research

People lead busy lives. I fully understand and sympathize with that. The past fifteen weeks have been some of the busiest that I’ve ever had.

College students, particularly at this time of the semester, often don’t know if they’re coming or going. With final project, papers and exams looming, other things seem relatively insignificant in comparison.

I’m currently running my dissertation experiment. So far I have had 30 people sign-up to participate. Of that thirty, 25 have showed up, 2 e-mailed me to cancel and reschedule, and the last 3 didn’t show up and I never heard from them.

In my experience here in the Institute for Communication Research, that is an awesome ratio. I’ve had 25 successful participants and only 3 have blown me off completely. I’m sure that with everything that has been mounting in their classes and in their personal lives, my experiment didn’t even enter their minds after they signed up. But still, as a researcher, this irks me just a bit.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the undergraduates at Indiana University and specifically in the Department of Telecommunications are great. As both an Associate Instructor and now as the Instructor-of-Record I have encountered hundreds of great students here at IU. But somehow it is these select few that can’t even send an e-mail to let me know that they’re not going to show up that get my goat.

Overall my dissertation is going great. I’ve had a few bumps with data collection along the way, but that was inevitable. And maybe I’m taking this just a little too personally. But waking up before 7am so that I can be here for a 9am participant who doesn’t show up just gets me riled up.


  • Hey, Mr. Gender, how about doing a gender analysis on no shows! Then the truth will be revealed.

    By Blogger Sam, at 5:05 PM  

  • 3 no-shows were men, 1 was a woman.

    What might that tell us? Men are less likely to make the effort to get extra credit?

    By Blogger IUAngelini, at 6:37 PM  

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