Asking, Lying, and Documents

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, when asked about NSA surveillance of American citizens, lied.  It’s not uncommon for government officials to lie when asked about sensitive matters.  That’s why you don’t ask them when you want to find out what the government is, and is not, doing.  Instead, analyze documents.  Documents provided by Snowden show that NSA broke privacy rules and performed unauthorized surveillance of American citizens thousands of times each year since 2008.  Other documents worth analyzing are budgets and financial reports, such as Financial Report of the United States.  Document/content analysis, observation, and other–as I call them–“proper” methods of data collection and proper research designs are procedures that produce reliable information are described in the last part of my book, The Problem with Survey Research, which aims to erode confidence in all forms of asking (polls, interviews, etc.) and, thereby, make document/content analysis and other proper procedures more attractive and, consequently, more widely used.

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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