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BLOG 3: Survey Collection

This assignment was one of the most difficult assignments I have ever had in my academic career. It’s not that the task itself was that difficult, but I am an extremely introverted person and I feel very uncomfortable going up and talking to strangers, especially to ask them to do something for me which would be of no benefit to them. Maybe it’s just because I wouldn’t want someone coming up and talking to me while I trying to peaceably walk down the street, but I felt like I was harassing and annoying people whenever I stopped them to ask if they wanted to fill out the survey. Most of the people I know in Columbia are Mizzou students, so I had to go far outside my comfort zone to get these done. I mostly stood out on the street corners downtown, engaging those people who looked like they weren’t MU students and seemed like they were not desperately trying to avoid the girl standing there with a clipboard. The first few times I went out I just stood there for a little while and felt super awkward and, after being rejected a few times, just went home. However, when I finally set my mind to it and just decided “hey, you have to get this done so forget about how you feel and just do it,” the experience really wasn’t that awful.

Most people were very nice, and even when they said they were busy or weren’t from Columbia (whether that was true or whether they just didn’t want to participate and felt bad saying so, I don’t know), I never had anyone be rude or mean to me. I also went down by city hall and started talking to a bunch of the people who were taking part in the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration and they were eager to participate and learn about the project; I ended up sitting, holding up a free hugs sign, and talking with them for a long while about their demonstration and about my project. Overall people were very nice even if they didn’t do the survey. I did have several people start to fill it out and then, upon turning the page and seeing how long it was, decided not to finish it. I felt bad asking people to take on a voluntary task that looked so daunting, even though it really only took 5 or 10 minutes to fill it out. However, I tried to make people not feel obligated and feel like they were doing a good deed by saying I was looking for volunteers to fill out a survey about the Columbia community as a part of my senior project. I had a wide variety in the interest that people had in the project – some just filled out the survey quickly and walked off, some asked me a bunch of questions about my class and the project and were really interested in knowing all about the research we are doing, and some were just really happy that I was interested in their opinions and wanted to sit and tell me all about their lives for an hour. Although it was personally a very challenging project for me and took a lot of time and effort to get it done, I ended up enjoying meeting and talking to new people and I think it helped me become more comfortable being more extroverted as well.

  1. October 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Great reflection Jeanne. I am impressed by the challenge you saw in this task and your commitment to get it done. Your observations about people who completed the survey –some being interested in what it was about, some just completing it and walking off–were interesting.

    I’m glad you were able to have some positive experiences with this surveying. At the beginning it seemed to be difficult for most people in the class, so you weren’t alone.

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