Asking about Sleep

We need to recognize that asking about sleep–or anything else–is not a good way to find out what’s really going on.  In a study recounted in The New Yorker (3/11/13, p. 25), researchers “monitored [via electonic brain sensors] couples over a span of several nights.  Half of these nights they spent in one bed and the other half in separate rooms.  When the subjects awoke, they tended to say that they’d slept better when they’d been together.  In fact, on average they’d spent thirty minutes more a night in the deeper stages of sleep then when they were apart”.

When you what to find out about sleep, don’t ask; use electronic brain sensors.

It’s not that every answer to every question about sleep, or anything else, is incorrect.  Obviously, some questions are answered correctly.  However, if all you have are answers it’s impossible to determine which, if any, are either correct or incorrect.  If all you have are answers, all you have is unreliable information.  That’s what I call “The Problem” with survey research and that’s the theme of my book, The Problem with Survey Research.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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