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The Sechelt Noise Survey Results

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  • Glen MacPherson
    Hi. By the way, this is a re-post from my Hum Research and News Blog. The Hum Blog is found here: http://wp.me/309cN What an unusual situation; this takes a
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 7, 2013
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      Hi.

      By the way, this is a re-post from my Hum Research and News Blog. The Hum Blog is found here: http://wp.me/309cN

      What an unusual situation; this takes a twist at the end.

      Scientific credibility requires reporting the bad news alongside the good.

      As a trial run, Canada Post randomly inserted 100 envelopes into post office boxes at the Sechelt post office. The envelopes were considered to be what in Canada is called "bulk mail"; that is, a flyer, or "junk mail". Considerable thought was given to what sort of labelling would be most likely to cause a person to open the envelope and read it. In the end, we decided to simply write, by hand, the words, "Noise Survey" on each envelope. It was thought that a hand-written label would indicate that a local person was involved, and most people have a propensity to complain about disturbing noises. After waiting one week, I checked the databases and not a single entry came from the Sechelt area. As disappointing as the results are, they reveal some important advice for follow up attempts. I spent some time looking over my methods, and no doubt I need to reach hearers more broadly and effectively.

      Then, just when I thought my survey was finished, I received an email from a person connected to the Post Office, who wants to remain anonymous. S/he told me that the Noise Survey created quite a stir in the Post Office, and that two workers associated with that office can hear the Hum. The consensus among them was that the best method of coverage for this purpose, and one that would most likely generate a greater response, would be a letter to the editor in the Coast Reporter newspaper. I had of course considered this initially, but one drawback of this technique is that I won't be able to infer the proportion of hearers within the local population.

      I plan for the letter to appear around the middle of September, and I'll let you know what happens.

      Cheers

      Glen





    • Mark Jordan
      Hi Glen, I should have warned you. I tried this some years ago by directly mailing to addresses that I knew were being repeatedly struck by lightning. I only
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 7, 2013
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        Hi Glen,

        I should have warned you. I tried this some years ago by directly mailing to addresses that I knew were being repeatedly struck by lightning. I only received 2 responses out of 60. One of those was an electrical engineering professor, now retired, at Letourneau University in Longview, Texas. He was also a victim that was familiar with my studies and he knew my findings were correct. I also used hand-written letters and made it clear that I was a not for profit scientist and assured them that I would not ask them for money or any other compensation. 

        I don't understand why mailing to victims just does not work. I have had some success by knocking on doors on Saturdays when I assume the man of the house will be at home. Leaving business cards on the doors of victims doesn't work. However, those that I was able to actually talk to were very cooperative and called me when new incidents occurred. They also answered letters in follow-up surveys. 

        Mark S. Jordan
        zorbasci@...


        From: Glen MacPherson <glen.macpherson@...>
        To: humforum@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, July 7, 2013 12:22 PM
        Subject: HUM_FORUM: The Sechelt Noise Survey Results

         
        Hi.

        By the way, this is a re-post from my Hum Research and News Blog. The Hum Blog is found here: http://wp.me/309cN

        What an unusual situation; this takes a twist at the end.

        Scientific credibility requires reporting the bad news alongside the good.
        As a trial run, Canada Post randomly inserted 100 envelopes into post office boxes at the Sechelt post office. The envelopes were considered to be what in Canada is called "bulk mail"; that is, a flyer, or "junk mail". Considerable thought was given to what sort of labelling would be most likely to cause a person to open the envelope and read it. In the end, we decided to simply write, by hand, the words, "Noise Survey" on each envelope. It was thought that a hand-written label would indicate that a local person was involved, and most people have a propensity to complain about disturbing noises. After waiting one week, I checked the databases and not a single entry came from the Sechelt area. As disappointing as the results are, they reveal some important advice for follow up attempts. I spent some time looking over my methods, and no doubt I need to reach hearers more broadly and effectively.
        Then, just when I thought my survey was finished, I received an email from a person connected to the Post Office, who wants to remain anonymous. S/he told me that the Noise Survey created quite a stir in the Post Office, and that two workers associated with that office can hear the Hum. The consensus among them was that the best method of coverage for this purpose, and one that would most likely generate a greater response, would be a letter to the editor in the Coast Reporter newspaper. I had of course considered this initially, but one drawback of this technique is that I won't be able to infer the proportion of hearers within the local population.
        I plan for the letter to appear around the middle of September, and I'll let you know what happens.
        Cheers
        Glen






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