How do people feel about surveys?

Discuss the LLORG's and HTLAL forum's past and its future here.

How do you feel about language-learning surveys from new users?

I enjoy filling out surveys! It helps scientists and students learn more about language learners.
10
26%
They're not my thing, but sure, why not?
13
33%
I only like some surveys. For example, ones that are meant for independent learners, advanced learners and/or polyglots. (Feel free to explain below.)
9
23%
We've had more than enough surveys, thank you, and I'd prefer the mods to be a lot more choosy about what they approve.
7
18%
 
Total votes: 39

taryn
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby taryn » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:37 pm

I understand what you mean. I'm the user who posted the questionnaire on eLearning and I am sorry if maybe I wasn't clear and wasted your time! I realise now that in the description I talked about the learning of foreign languages online, when I probably should've said "online courses". It's my first attempt at making a questionnaire and I'm not very good at it. But I'm glad that I can read all your comments so I can improve.

Cavesa wrote:I don't mind taking part in a well thought out survey. But most are simply not that.

For example, there are studies that assume you either go to the usual classes, or you learn with Duolingo and Memrise, nothing else. And I find that out only after filling a third of the survey, and I cannot simply answer the questions. The most overlooked option is a serious learner who buys the books with CDs and works with that without any teacher and without relying just on online toys.

A pretty good example here. Elearning is a wider term, and I filled a part of the survey before realising this is meant only as online classrooms or perhaps italki? I don't know. I learn online a lot, but I very rarely pay a teacher (usually one such attempt per year or so).

A huge problem are questions guiding us too much. Suggestive ways of asking. This is a huge issue in the sociology and psychology research, yet people focusing on these surveys don't care(including people from academia, who should know better).

So, yes, I am definitely willing to take part in a survey, but: (and this is meant in general, not all of it for this one survey):
1.Tell me what it is about, so that I don't waste time with something I still cannot honestly finish
2.Be honest about your allegiances and bias. It is different to fill our a survey for an academic researcher and for someone asking about their own product. I don't mind either in general, but I want to know.
3.Share the results, that is the minimum to be asked after giving you a bit of my time.
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taryn
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby taryn » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:40 pm

Hi! Could you maybe send me the link of this subforum?

tastyonions wrote:Some boards I have frequented had a subforum created specifically for polls and surveys, allowing those interested to find them all in one place and those uninterested to avoid them entirely. Just an idea.
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby Serpent » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:51 pm

Also, the easiest questions become hard once you have a bit of experience :D Someone who is learning one foreign language at an advanced level is probably going to reply "yes, I'm learning a language now". When I see such questions, I wonder: do they mean beginners/intermediates only? Only those doing formal study? Should I choose one language and reply based on that? Should I pick based on how much I study or my level? What if I'm learning through things that are intended for native speakers?

In resource-specific surveys it's important to remember that most forum members use a combination of tools/resources. I can't say I've ever "decided to learn a language online". I'm learning languages and sometimes I try out new resources. It's not a permanent decision. If I drop a resource I still continue learning the language. Someone else might take 1-2 classes a week and do online courses in between.

And anyway, the decision process is not like "wow I found a site that teaches Spanish, I've always wanted to learn Spanish". If someone is on this forum, they're already learning a language or at least exploring the materials available. At most a new resource or app can solve a problem they've anticipated, such as learning a new alphabet. But most resources are simply not as revolutionary as their creators think.
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby Cavesa » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:03 pm

Serpent wrote:Also, the easiest questions become hard once you have a bit of experience :D Someone who is learning one foreign language at an advanced level is probably going to reply "yes, I'm learning a language now". When I see such questions, I wonder: do they mean beginners/intermediates only? Only those doing formal study? Should I choose one language and reply based on that? Should I pick based on how much I study or my level? What if I'm learning through things that are intended for native speakers?

In resource-specific surveys it's important to remember that most forum members use a combination of tools/resources. I can't say I've ever "decided to learn a language online". I'm learning languages and sometimes I try out new resources. It's not a permanent decision. If I drop a resource I still continue learning the language. Someone else might take 1-2 classes a week and do online courses in between.

And anyway, the decision process is not like "wow I found a site that teaches Spanish, I've always wanted to learn Spanish". If someone is on this forum, they're already learning a language or at least exploring the materials available. At most a new resource or app can solve a problem they've anticipated, such as learning a new alphabet. But most resources are simply not as revolutionary as their creators think.


I totally agree and would like to follow up on these points:

1.Yes, the surveys usually expect us to be beginners. It has a lot to do with my point about suggestive questions. It is hard to answer those, as some answers would be totally wrong, and the less wrong ones would just help deepen the stereotypes about language learners.

2.The combination of resources is totally being overlooked. A classic problem: "Do you find your online resource helpful?" Which one? Each of them is different. And no, I don't expect any single resource to teach me everything. "Is online learning better than classes?" Which product vs what kind of classes?

3.Yes, there are many a wrong assumptions about the learners taking the surveys. Just as I mentioned the wrong idea that we either take classes or use duolingish stuff, there are many more. Serpent's examples are very good. The surveys don't count with people learning six languages, with people that have a lot of experience, with people having a different background (a learner already knowing another language from the family doesn't need to do half the stuff people without such experience), with people that have different goals. There are people who just want to read in the language, why should they rate how much is an app helping them with social interactions? There are people who are simply having a hard time with any foreign pronunciation, while being brilliant at grammar and vocabulary. And so on.

The last sentence is gold. Please, publish this all over the internet :-)
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby aokoye » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:17 pm

Another thing - a lot of the questionnaires and research design that I've seen posted on this forum has been questionable at best. Seriously there are hundreds of books on this topic and if you're in university - take a research methodology class.
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby Systematiker » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:29 pm

In the spirit of the last few comments - yeah, surveys are neat, but I'm such a strange data point that even if I participate, I know I'll usually get thrown out.
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Cavesa
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby Cavesa » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:43 pm

I think the only potentially good surveys for our group would be those with open questions. But those would be a real hell to interpret. Or perhaps the widely used kind with points 1-10, 1 I disagree totally, 10 I completely agree, and with lots of similar but slightly different questions.

But those are not easy to make.
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby reineke » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:05 am

I've participated in surveys where participants got Amazon gift cards. I am a grumpy Mr Grinch so I voted "choosy".
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:19 am

I don't like surveys much in general as I'm suspicious as to the motives behind many of them. Not to mention, I believe that often they are used as an excuse to support biased arguments in media... but did such surveys really take place? In other words surveys, real or not, have a motive behind them often of which i'm distrustful of.

However, on the forum, i feel I'm for the most part pretty clear on what the motives are behind surveys and these surveys, in my opinion, have no hidden agenda. For such surveys, I don't mind filling them out here and there, particularly if I know it's going to assist someone, or clarify a point relative to language learning and language learners (such as providing insight on effective or ineffective study methods or learning techniques).
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Re: How do people feel about surveys?

Postby lavengro » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:42 am

This thread ( a survey about surveys) is easily the most meta thing I have encountered all week!

Personally, I love surveys and polls. The idea that someone is interested in what I may think heartens me considerably, and is a refreshing change from work (where, frankly, few care what I think). I think it shows careful discernment and excellent judgment on the surveyor's or pollster's part in recognizing me, Lavengro, amongst other humans, as someone whose opinion is worth soliciting. I will give it freely, mostly because I cannot pass by an opportunity of skewing the results of a survey or poll by just making up crazy answers.
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