Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How Researchers Meet Interesting People, Just Like You, While They're Working

It sounds so easy:

If playing with Blogger for an hour or so and making up to $100 sounds like something you’d like to do, please sign up....

But there's a little more involved:

[T]ypically we pay $75 for each hour that you spend with a Google researcher, either in person or on the phone. Most studies last for one to one-and-a-half hours. We don't pay for your travel time, or travel expenses, though....

In user studies and field studies, you will typically spend one to one-and-a-half hours with a Google researcher. This will almost always be during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm). If you are coming in to a Google office to participate, you will need to allow extra time for travel.

But what happens to the researcher who meets the research participants who wants something else?

Many participants in this study perceived the research assistants to be representatives from the Western Cape [South Africa] social support services, despite being informed that they were part of a research project. Patients who were referred by the Empilweni Clinic proved to be a greater challenge than the community sample. Their willingness to participate in the study was motivated primarily by the misperception that that the research assistants were providing follow up to an initial consultation at the clinic. The research assistants were oblivious to the dynamics of the participant?s previous interaction with the clinic staff and were ill prepared to answer questions such as "when will my social assistance come through?" "Does my child qualify for state assistance?" "Do you have my medication?" "Which school will my child attend?"

Well, I'm glad that can't happen at Goggle - I mean Google.

MR. SMITH: Have a seat, Mr. Jones, and we'll begin the questions.

MR. JONES: I hope this won't take long. The waves are looking good!

MR. SMITH: We should be able to complete this in the allotted time.

MR. JONES: Do I get a breathing tube also?

MR. SMITH: No, a breathing tube is not necessary. You're going to sit at this computer right here and answer some questions.

MR. JONES: That computer needs a better screen saver.

MR. SMITH: Excuse me?

MR. JONES: Well, once I get the goggles from you, I'm gonna do some underwater photography. By the way, you misspelled "goggle" on the computer screen.

MR. SMITH: No, that's "google."

MR. JONES: I know. Shouldn't it be goggle? How the heck am I supposed to take a google to the beach?


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