The Fraser Institute’s (Not So) Rigorous Data Collection Methods

I’ve written a couple of posts about the questionable research and data collection methodologies of the notoriously right-wing Fraser Institute. But today I have to take my hat off to the researchers over at Press Progress, who discovered that the Institute was collecting data for its annual “survey of mining companies” through an online survey that was open to anyone. Yes, anyone who visited the Institute’s website – regardless of how much or how little they knew about mining – could participate. You can read about the fun that Press Progress had filling out the survey here.

The Fraser Institute probably didn't want this kind of information about the mining industry. (credit: pressprogress.ca)

This probably wasn’t the sort of information about mining that the Fraser Institute wanted to get. (credit: pressprogress.ca)

To give credit to the Institute, though, someone there is apparently paying attention to the incoming data. Because not too long after Press Progress completed the survey and published its post, the survey’s site on the  Institute website was closed down. I’m guessing that even if Press Progress did provide its name and address, it won’t be winning the $1,000 prize for taking part in the survey.

Sadly, unlike Press Progress, most media outlets blindly report information from the Fraser Institute’s studies without verifying the data or questioning the outcomes – as you can see from these examples here, and here, and here. And this little event, as funny as it is, is just one more sobering example of why that kind of uncritical reporting is a huge problem.

 

 

3 comments

  1. You complain about media coverage of Fraser Institute but Broadbent Institute has tried to sabotage FI survey. Is this how Progressives should be acting? How would MSM cover Broadbent efforts to sabotage survey? Is this what we want?

    1. I wouldn’t describe this as “sabotage”. It’s pointing out the weaknesses in how the Fraser Institute collects some of its data. The Fraser Institute showed very questionable judgement in posting this survey on the Web as an open survey that anyone could answer. And hopefully the Institute is also screening its data to remove unreliable information, like that provided by participants named “Fred Flintstone” who claim to be familiar with mining industry operations in every location on Earth.

      If you look at the International Labour Office report I linked to here: https://allaboutwork.org/2014/06/10/flawed-data-questionable-results-international-monetary-fund-research-gets-criticized/, you will see that there are many serious methodological problems with how the Fraser Institute conducts its research. This is what the media should be writing about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s