Vi­tal Signs sur­vey not rep­re­sen­ta­tive

Times Colonist - - Comment -

Re: “Sur­vey nar­rows in on ad­dic­tion cri­sis,” Oct. 3.

I ap­pre­ci­ate the ideas and dis­cus­sion points of the lat­est Vi­tal Signs sur­vey con­ducted by the Vic­to­ria Foun­da­tion. But the re­sults must not be con­sid­ered rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Greater Vic­to­ria area.

Of the es­ti­mated 360,000 res­i­dents of our area, only 1,498 peo­ple com­pleted the Vi­tal Signs sur­vey. While a small, care­fully se­lected sam­ple that is polled us­ing proper method­ol­ogy can some­times be con­sid­ered valid (or rep­re­sen­ta­tive), the Vi­tal Signs sam­ple was based on on­line par­tic­i­pants; that is, in­di­vid­u­als who com­pleted the sur­vey on­line.

This is a grow­ing sam­pling tech­nique, mostly be­cause of low cost, but it is highly bi­ased and dis­torted. De­spite th­ese sta­tis­ti­cal problems, the doc­u­ment pro­vides talk­ing points about our area, but un­for­tu­nately it fails to pro­vide re­li­able and valid data upon which to base pol­icy or po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions. Rey Carr Vic­to­ria

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