A scientific study – of 13 people!

February 21st, 2012 at 4:23 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand researchers believe fewer people would take up socially if smoke-free rules extended to areas outside bars.

The researchers from Otago and Massey universities carried out 13 in-depth interviews with people aged between 19 and 25 in Auckland and Dunedin early in 2011.

Their results have been published online in the journal Tobacco Control.

A study of 13 people? God help me.

The researchers noted that, as with all small scale qualitative research, their study had limitations. 

No kidding.

Tags: ,

33 Responses to “A scientific study – of 13 people!”

  1. berend (1,690 comments) says:

    You missed the phrase “binge smoking”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. berend (1,690 comments) says:

    May I also note the journal is peer reviewed?

    And there is probably a scientific CONSENSUS?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. annie (539 comments) says:

    Oh dear, poor old Otago, it was a respectable university once.

    I fear even their science/medicine faculties are on the downhill slide as well, if the quality of some of the recent social-issue studies emanating from the med school are any indication. They don’t even seem to be able to distinguish cause and correlation any longer.

    e.g. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10786823

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    “with people aged between 19 and 25″
    hehehe – good old university students eh – the perfect random sample for your study – plus you don’t even have to leave the student bar to find them!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. East Wellington Superhero (1,139 comments) says:

    Am embarrassed to have an Otago degree right now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Did they start their research one morning and finish the paper that afternoon, with time to have it peer reviewed by the end of the day?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Yvette (2,763 comments) says:

    The research was carried out by members of ASPIRE2025, a partnership which aims to have this country tobacco-free by 2025.
    The researchers noted that, as with all small scale qualitative research, their study had limitations. Only four of those in the study were women, who had been more difficult to recruit than men, while only two reported some Maori ancestry.

    How much tax payer funding does ASPIRE2025 get?

    http://aspire2025.org.nz/

    ASPIRE2025 is a partnership between major New Zealand research groups carrying out research to help achieve a tobacco-free Aotearoa by 2025, launched in July 2011.

    ASPIRE2025 brings together leading tobacco-free researchers and health service groups in New Zealand and strengthens existing collaborations. ASPIRE2025 was awarded the status of a University of Otago Research Theme in November 2011.

    Our areas of research will encompass all the main aspects of tobacco control activity including smoking cessation support, policy and regulatory research, smoking among young people, smokefree communications, Maori health and tobacco use, Pasifika tobacco use, and research capacity development. We will use a translational approach which links the findings from clinical trials, experimental and observational studies, qualitative approaches with end-users of research, to ensure our work contributes directly to reductions in smoking prevalence.

    This is of course modelled on the worst aspects of climate change research –
    spend lots of other buggers money “to ensure our work contributes directly to reductions”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Odakyu-sen (863 comments) says:

    Come on guys! This is qualitative research (i.e., an exploratory study).

    It’s not a quantitative study, so you can’t generalize the findings to the population as a whole.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Stephen Stratford (43 comments) says:

    As soon as I saw the headline on Stuff, “Study backs ban on smoking outside bars” I thought, “Otago uni press release with a no-shit-Sherlock finding based on minimal research.” And lo…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    Tags:
    Tobacco Industry influence on politicians

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    Simple explanation, they are just bone lazy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. reid (16,700 comments) says:

    They don’t even seem to be able to distinguish cause and correlation any longer.

    Zealots never can. All they’re interested in is finding evidence to prove their pre-suppositions. The issue is when people do this, time after time, instead of being stripped of their degrees and dismissed for gross incompetence they’re rather given sinecures at the university, since in the faculty’s mind, they’ve made an important contribution to the field.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Ross Nixon (517 comments) says:

    “God help me”? David?
    That is a good start, as “all who call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved” :)
    Please keep us posted with your progress… we remain ever hopeful!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    At my workplace we have someone who samples two pieces of work per month, out of about 1000, rates them for quality, and then draws a graph showing the month by month trend…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Tautaioleua (324 comments) says:

    The University of Auckland: New Zealand’s leading university.

    :P

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Manolo (14,169 comments) says:

    Bogus academics sucking off the public teat and taking people for a ride.
    The dreadful alliance of tobacco, fast-food, and alcohol nazis is becoming evident.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Yvette (2,763 comments) says:

    Ross Nixon
    No, see – Exodus 20:7

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Weihana (4,621 comments) says:

    “… I know it’s bad for me but I can just do it and fit in or I can say no and run the risk of being outcasted or something like that,” one said.

    Gee, thinks highly of his/her friends. I suspect the problem isn’t the friends but this person’s own insecurities.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. scrubone (3,097 comments) says:

    13 people? That’s a new low.

    Who knows what they actually said. I recall reading an in-depth review of some other social “science” research and the conclusion was basically what the interviewers wanted to hear, it didn’t even fit what they themselves admitted being told.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. billr (21 comments) says:

    talk about ‘once over lightly’ and getting people to froth at the mouth.

    I heard the researcher on the radio tonight, they did a qualitative intial survey, they talked to, i think, 13 people for between 40 and 70 minutes over their smoking in the public outside of areas of bars.

    they came across a ‘new’ phenomena, people who declare themselves as non-smokers who smoke. It was all to do with them drinking in a public area where smoking was allowed, and they indulged, feeling guilty in the morning.

    Whether or not this turns into anything else is of course up for grabs.

    but the stuff above from other respondents here is ridiculous.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Yvette (2,763 comments) says:

    ASPIRE2025 is a partnership between major New Zealand research groups carrying out research to help achieve a tobacco-free Aotearoa by 2025, launched in July 2011.

    These people already have a goal, so what they are doing is looking at ‘facilitating’ or some similar process, it’s certainly not research – not any activity that may throw up a proposition other than what they have already determined: achieving a tobacco-free country.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. V (763 comments) says:

    And this is why people must look at the actual scientific study rather than just cite ‘its in a peer reviewed journal’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Pongo (374 comments) says:

    What a waste of taxpayers money, that idiot Doug Selman works there too with his nonsense. Make a a nice change if the idiots running the place would do some research that actually adds some value to the economy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Peter (1,694 comments) says:

    Why don’t they just cut the crap, don’t bother interviewing anyone at all, and write what they intended to write all along?

    Seems to have worked in the AGW field….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Manolo (14,169 comments) says:

    Very well said by Gantt Guy: All of whom are so unable to control themselves they demand the government control everybody.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. asterisk.4 (13 comments) says:

    I didn’t see anyone in the Stuff article label it a ‘scientific’ study. I don’t see the study being touted as scientific here, either.
    http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago030382.html

    Qualitative studies are useful for finding pointers for quantitative research. Hypotheses for quantitative research have to come from somewhere.I don’t have access to the article itself, but I’d guess the low reliability of the study is covered in their methodology. The validity of their findings, on the other hand, is likely to be fairly high.

    Given ‘tobacco control’ is such a niche topic, it’s unsurprising that its goal of “…study[ing] the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide…” involves input from non-scientific disciplines. In this case, it seems to be the fairly subjective concept of identity which was the focus of the study. Qualitative research is good for that sort of thing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Yvette (2,763 comments) says:

    “…study[ing] the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide…” = junkets

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. beautox (409 comments) says:

    One of their “findings” was that smoking and drinking were linked. Wow. You don’t say.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    …but I’d guess the low reliability of the study is covered in their methodology. The validity of their findings, on the other hand, is likely to be fairly high.

    Are you sure you wouldn’t like to rephrase that???

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. asterisk.4 (13 comments) says:

    No. In fact I’m sure I would like to rephrase.

    How about ‘I’d guess the low external validity of the study is flagged in their methodology. Their results may however be valid as critical cases to assess current theory, depending on the rest of their methodology.’?

    I’m not the biggest fan of qualitative research, but it’s not without merit. Presenting it as conclusive evidence of anything though, is not on.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. DJP6-25 (1,390 comments) says:

    So this ‘quality spending’ is what your grand children will have to take a second job to pay for in 2040.

    cheers

    David Prosser

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. annie (539 comments) says:

    asterisk.4 (7) Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I didn’t see anyone in the Stuff article label it a ‘scientific’ study. I don’t see the study being touted as scientific here, either.
    http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago030382.html

    Qualitative studies are useful for finding pointers for quantitative research. Hypotheses for quantitative research have to come from somewhere.I don’t have access to the article itself, but I’d guess the low reliability of the study is covered in their methodology. The validity of their findings, on the other hand, is likely to be fairly high.

    Given ‘tobacco control’ is such a niche topic, it’s unsurprising that its goal of “…study[ing] the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide…” involves input from non-scientific disciplines. In this case, it seems to be the fairly subjective concept of identity which was the focus of the study. Qualitative research is good for that sort of thing.

    So why did they issue a press release then? If all they were doing was hypothesis-trawling or defining parameters for further study by interviewing a few students, their press release would have been so short, qualified and inconsequential as to not merit publishing.

    They clearly inflated the relevance of their work for the purposes of the press release – blatantly dishonest.

    This comes as part of a long line of similar research standards and behaviour from Otago, including the social science gits at the Med School (the longitudinal study of Dunedin kids excepted) which makes me cringe and thank the lord I’ve never displayed my Otago degrees.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Salacious Crumb (31 comments) says:

    There, the science is settled

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote