Deadlines, Discussions, and Data

After closing the survey on Friday, July 18 at 11:59 pm, I’m overall very pleased with my base sample. Following a month-long distribution period, the survey closed with a total of 367 responses at a response rate of 21%. Of those responses, 303 were considered completely usable. I attribute the large response rate the result of two factors. First, individualized emails containing the survey link were sent out to each participant, rather than to all participants at once in a large bulk email. This personal aspect helped form a rapport with each participant, and prevented these emails from being marked as spam. Second, emails were sent out exclusively after work hours (after 5:00 pm) during the five-day business week. This ensured that emails containing the survey would be one of the first emails in each participant’s inbox the following day, as opposed to buried under other emails accrued during the workday or over the weekend. ¬†While both methods were slightly unorthodox, I believe that this rationale ultimately paid off, as evidenced by the large number of responses.

Once the survey closed, it was time to review its results with my faculty advisor, Dr. Sharon deFur. After sending her a copy of the raw data and descriptive statistics, Dr. deFur agreed to Skype with me the over the weekend. We Skyped on Sunday, July 20 at 4:00 pm and our conversation lasted about an hour. During this time, we focused on three talking points: the survey’s participant base, what the data suggested about the actual participation of people with disabilities, and finally, the influence of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) on the preparation of accessible polling sites. In addition, while agreeing at this juncture there is more than enough information to be gleaned from the survey’s descriptive statistics, we discussed the possibility of ¬†calculating correlative or comparative analysis. One thing which I believe would be interesting to explore in the future is the correlation between a polling official’s geographic region and the accessibility of their polling places. Perhaps this question could be explored in a future study.

However, at the present time, I am simply focused on analyzing the descriptive data that I currently have. I look forward to sharing the findings and results with in the next installment!