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Have you the necessary qualifications?

Johnny J 15 Jun 13 - 07:31 AM
Jeri 15 Jun 13 - 08:34 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jun 13 - 09:05 AM
Will Fly 15 Jun 13 - 09:22 AM
Arthur_itus 15 Jun 13 - 03:53 PM
Marje 15 Jun 13 - 04:50 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Jun 13 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Musket sans Blue Peter badge 16 Jun 13 - 01:50 AM
Tattie Bogle 16 Jun 13 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 16 Jun 13 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Jun 13 - 10:50 AM
Uncle_DaveO 16 Jun 13 - 11:33 AM
Marje 16 Jun 13 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Musket sans genuine answers 16 Jun 13 - 01:44 PM
Tattie Bogle 17 Jun 13 - 10:31 AM
Johnny J 17 Jun 13 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,Tangential Thinker 17 Jun 13 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Grishka 17 Jun 13 - 05:04 PM
Don Firth 17 Jun 13 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Grishka 18 Jun 13 - 10:15 AM
Pete Jennings 18 Jun 13 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Grishka 18 Jun 13 - 07:07 PM
Green Man 19 Jun 13 - 06:13 AM
Pete Jennings 19 Jun 13 - 10:33 AM
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Subject: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Johnny J
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 07:31 AM

A local traditional singers club have recently invited interested people to partake in an online survey.

I should say, in fairness, that this was not instigated by the club organisers themselves but one of the regular attendees although it does relate to the club itself.

I'm usually very cynical about these "box ticking" methods of gathering information and, invariably, they are usually very flawed.

However, one particular question irritated me greatly.


"What is your highest level of educational attainment?

High school degree or equivalent

University (B.A. or equivalent)

University (Masters)

University (PhD)"

I'm not sure what our educational qualifications have to do with our appreciation, enjoyment, or even our ability to perform songs and music! Many of the greatest singers and musicians have had little or no formal further education but many are extremely "well read" and knowledgeable about various aspects of life. There are also some others who couldn't even read a newspaper but are still wonderful singers and players.

The majority of the older generation didn't go to University although some, like myself, gained their degrees etc through other institutions or as mature students. Indeed, back then, it was not uncommon to leave school with no qualifications whatsoever but this didn't mean that such people were ignorant and many still went on to achieve great success. Yet there is no place for them in this survey!

As I say, this is not an official survey by the organisers of the club although they themselves are academics.
However, it does little to dispel the growing impression that traditional music and song is now increasingly considered to be the preserve of such an elite.


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 08:34 AM

A little defensive? They're probably just interested in the demographics of the folk club.


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 09:05 AM

Do another form for performers to list their qualifications in the University of Hard Knocks.

Years on the dole queue? ___

Experience in call centres, deep mining, asbestos-hazard jobs or the sex trade (years)? ___

Current bankruptcy status? ___

Are any debt collecting agencies looking for you? ___

Number of children taken into care? ___

Number of children subject to maintenance payments? ___

Alcohol consumption?
- 6-packs of Carlsberg ___
- large bottles of white cider ___
- bottles of supermarket imitation port or sherry ___
- bottles of own-brand vodka ___

Other addictions? ___
(we have to point out that in addition to the smoking ban, local fire regulations forbid performers to huff glue, butane or nitrous oxide on stage)

Number of stays in rehab clinics? ___

Number of forced hospitalizations? ___

Have you ever given all your possessions away to a fringe religion? ___

How many stalkers do you have? ___

Are you currently positive for:
- Herpes? ___
- HIV? ___
- Drug-resistant gonorrhoea? ___
- TB? ___
- Pubic lice? ___
- Scabies? ___

Institutional experience (years)?
- Approved school ___
- Young Offenders Institution ___
- Prison ___
- High security psychiatric unit ___

Current accommodation:
- Supervised hostel ___
- Backpacker hostel ___
- Sofa ___
- Cardboard box ___
- Blanket in a doorway ___


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 09:22 AM

In my time at the BBC, many years ago now, I did some research work on surveys carried out by the Beeb's Audience Research Department - mainly on street survey methods and biases.

One conclusion I drew from my work was that most surveys are statistically insignificant and utterly devoid of real, useful information. In short - bollocks.

If you want to see bollocks at its most stupid, look for those TV adverts - mainly for women's beauty products - that say something like "88% of 172 women agreed with this." The first time I saw one of these statements on the screen, I nearly wet myself laughing at the sheer idiocy of it.


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 03:53 PM

All they needed to do was add OTHER


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Marje
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 04:50 PM

Re the original post; I'd have assumed that the organisers were merely (as Jeri says) trying to look at the demographics of the folk club. They probably asked about age, gender, and other variables too, but this does not imply that they thought that being older (or younger) or male (or female) made you a better (or worse) singer. Similarly, they were probably curious to know whether the folkies were respresentative of the wider population, or whether there was any truth in the sterotype (that folkies are mostly teachers, social workers, health workers, academics etc). I don't imagine they were intending to bar or ignore certain members on the grounds that they were under-educated (or, for that matter, over-qualified).

Their research methods do look at bit shaky, though - there's no such thing as a "high school degree" in the UK (I think you're UK-based?). Looks as if they've nicked the categories from some inappropriate source, which makes the results of questionble use. And by failing to offer a box for everyone to tick, they've wasted an opportunity to find out something (potentially) useful.

Perhaps you could ask the organisers what the results of the survey showed, and what - if anything - they intend to do as a consequence. Perhaps they're planning a recruitment drive to try to attract more members who are female, under 40 and with no educational qualifications whatever!

Marje


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 07:23 PM

Creating a useful survey for almost any purpose is a near-impossible task for most people, including especially those who have an "agenda" (one of the regulars who wants to "improve" something?)

Interpreting the replies, to do anything worthwhile with them, is perhaps even worse, and for "amateur" surveys just "never happens." The replies come in, but nobody knows what to do with them so they go in a pile (or now, maybe in a spreadsheet?) that nobody ever looks at.

Since almost anything asked will offend someone, an "experienced" surveyor (making at least a second or third attempt?) may choose to make it clear that replies to any "personal" questions may be omitted, although those who take exception to something will get mad anyway. If you're easily offended, just assume you can "shoot a few blanks" and don't answer the ones you don't like.

Without seeing the survey, it's impossible to offer a real opinion, but for similar ones I have seen (many times) about all anyone is going to get from the responses is a mailing list of those who bothered to respond, so there's little need to take most of these things very seriously.

John


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Musket sans Blue Peter badge
Date: 16 Jun 13 - 01:50 AM

Jack.

I've filled in your survey. Where do I send it?


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 Jun 13 - 05:02 AM

Why not publish your results here, Musket? Then we'll know what you're sans or avec today!

Having been involved in creating a simple feedback survey for a number of events I've been involved in organising, the single most useful bit is leaving a large space for free text comments: it does mean you have to actually read them, but it does help to highlight any perceived problems or suggestions for future events. You don't get that from tick boxes or even from scoring systems.
And in this day and age, it's becoming increasingly necessary to provide evidence of "economic impact assessment" for existing or potential funding bodies. I don't think they need to know how many A levels or degrees you got, but how much money you think you spent while in their lovely town is a relevant question, whether on the festival or event, or elsewhere in the vicinity, and whether you patronised any other visitor attractions or shops.

It's interesting that the survey form commonly used by various organisations is Survey MONKEY: "you ask monkeys, you get monkeys"!


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 16 Jun 13 - 05:57 AM

Hang on folks. Three points worth bearing in mind:

1. Unless I've got the wrong club, the organisers work for Edinburgh University.

2. It matters not a twopenny damn what your educational achievements are. You're welcome provided you sit and listen and sing traditional songs; if you sing of course.

3. According to the initial post, this survey was not initiated by the organisers, but by someone who goes to the club.

Taking these three facts in conjunction, it seems perfectly possible to me that this survey has been carried by a student at the university as part of an academic exercise. EG., it might have been done by someone who is writing a dissertation on social survey research methods.

Unfortunately we don't know, becuse we've only got this one question, and I can't say any more than that without seeing the rest of the questionnaire. However, I sure would take pity on anyone who tried to carry out a social survey of Mudcatters!


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Jun 13 - 10:50 AM

Surveys often reveal more about the "researchers" than of their objects. The item "B.A. or equivalent" - but omitting "B.Sc." - shows that the author suspects many participants to be actually folk researchers or activists for heritage preservation ("folkies"), rather than "genuine folks". (This suspicion seems to be subconscious, since otherwise the other options would be "M.A." etc., and "none of these".)

Too bad that the Golden Age, when all folk songs were invented by ordinary folks, is so long ago that it probably never existed.

55% of all statistics yield what their authors want them to. Another 45% yield what the professor expects. The remaining 10% tell the truth ;).


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Jun 13 - 11:33 AM

Grishka commented:

55% of all statistics yield what their authors want them to. Another 45% yield what the professor expects. The remaining 10% tell the truth ;).

There's some truth in that, Grishka.

Another useful comment to consider is Mark Twain's pronunciamento:

"There are lies, damn lies. . . and statistics!"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Marje
Date: 16 Jun 13 - 01:22 PM

I've heard that at least 60% of statistics are just made up :-)

But seriously, a good survey will apply proper techniques and come up with some valid findings. Unfortunately many people think that creating a survey is a doddle and just write down a list of questions, without any thought to precision, clarity, bias, use of jargon, etc, let alone how they're going to find a representative group of people to survey. Multi-choice questions give responses that are easy to collate, but it's a difficult sort of question to set, as it may (as in this case) not give all the options necessary, or may not be clear and unambiguous.

"Qualitative research", where you allow free-text responses for respondents' own ideas, are often enjoyed by the participants, but are the hardest of all to analyse. Making sense of such responses is a research skill on its own.

That's why amateur surveys may often fail to find out anything useful, and just cause bewilderment among people being surveyed.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Musket sans genuine answers
Date: 16 Jun 13 - 01:44 PM

Ok me old Tattie, here goes.

1. Two months in 1985

2. Nine years deep mining. (Electrician NCB Manton.)

3. Financial questions. Doing, in the words of Billericay Dickie, ...... Very well.

4. Brats. Three, one of each.

5. Alcohol etc. satisfactory.

6. Hospitals - Every day, albeit for professional reasons.

7. Giving money to fringe religions. I have had season tickets for Sheffield Wednesday since 1969/70 season. Although there is nothing fringe about The Owls.

8. Presently positive for pork pies.

9. I used to inspect prisons. That was bad enough.

10. I live as ever in the dog house.

Does this qualify me to sing at this club?


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 17 Jun 13 - 10:31 AM

Oh definitely: especially the mining songs!

Re 8: I have a Dip.Ven. so was qualified to sort out all that sort of stuff before I retired, although some have no cure! They don't ask for Dip.Ven.s in the questionnaire....


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Johnny J
Date: 17 Jun 13 - 11:59 AM

Nor do they ask if you have more than one degree, or whether you have honours, or have any other diplomas etc...

This may take just as much dedication and time as a Masters or Doctorate but, perhaps, this isn't "academic enough"?

JJ.... B.A.(Hons), BSc, Adv PG Dip

and I don't even sing.
:-)


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Tangential Thinker
Date: 17 Jun 13 - 02:05 PM

I've often wondered why so many advertisements for Academic positions, positions requiring at least an Honours degree if not a Doctorate, nevertheless require that applicants indicate their Primary schooling? Why?


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 17 Jun 13 - 05:04 PM

JJ, B.A.(Hons), BSc, Adv PG Dip
The most adequate qualification for rural folklore would of course be the farming degree E.I.E.I.O.


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Jun 13 - 06:40 PM

On that "highest level of educational attainment" question, they don't have a category that I fit into.

I attended the University of Washington as an English Literature major (subheading, Creative Writing) for about four years, but I took a whole bunch of courses that were not in the list of courses required for a degree in Eng. Lit., because I was interested in what the courses taught. A couple of Astronomy courses, Liberal Arts 101 (Greek Classics), and a batch of other stuff that I was interested in. Philosophy, Psychology, other things. All things a good writer should have some knowledge of, but not in the Creative Writing curriculum, for some strange reason.

Then, I changed my major to Music. Three years in the U. of W.'s School of Music, studying music theory, composition (arranging), sight reading and ear training, while at the same time, taking voice lessons and classical guitar lessons from non-university teachers. Then, on the suggestion of a good friend, I transferred from the U. of Wash. to the Cornish College of the Arts, which had excellent teachers in residence and were much more friendly to classical guitarist and to people whose main interest was folk music (or jazz, or whatever). Much more open. I put in two years at Cornish (Cornish was and still is very like a conservatory).

So I have had some nine years of higher education altogether, not counting a number of courses I have taken in night school because I was interested in the subject ("Word Processing with WordStar" early on, Cartooning, Life Drawing, others) for the sheer fun of it.

But—no degree.

Why? Because I was interested in learning what I wanted to learn, which would give me what I wanted and needed. The courses I chose to take qualified me for what I wanted to do.

A diploma would have qualified me to teach, perhaps, but the lack of a diploma did not prevent me from having a full schedule of guitar students and from singing concerts, television, and in clubs and coffee houses.

Does the fact that I don't have a degree mean, ipso facto, that I am not well educated?

I don't think so!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 Jun 13 - 10:15 AM

Well educated Mudcatters are easily recognized by their well educated posts. Mentioning anything about universities etc. helps you sweet-bugger-all here, it may even be detrimental to your reputation.


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 18 Jun 13 - 12:37 PM

Wiki's got an entry about high school diplomas (here), but I can't find anything about high school degrees.

Can anyone enlighten us?


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 Jun 13 - 07:07 PM

Oh damn, Pete, now that you say it ... and I paid 200$ for it, plus 1000$ for the cap and the gown!


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Green Man
Date: 19 Jun 13 - 06:13 AM

Yes I have the necessary qualifications.

Do You?

:)


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Subject: RE: Have you the necessary qualifications?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 19 Jun 13 - 10:33 AM

LOL, Grishka!


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