Survey ranked non-existent schools
By Laura Katsirdakis
The survey says Trent and Brock are the best and non-existent
grad schools are great too - could there be a correlation?
The Globe and Mail's University Report Card boasted "26,000
students can't be wrong," despite glaring errors in the
study. The survey reported on the law school at the University
of Waterloo and the medical school at York University - neither
of which exist.
"This was certainly not a methodological error," said
Tessa Mintz, director of client services at Uthink, one of
the two companies that performed the survey for The Globe.
Of the 100 questions asked, she explained, one concerned graduate
schools, asking what participants hoped to study at the post-graduate
level and which school they thought had the best reputation
in that program, Mintz said.
The result: praise for graduate schools that do not actually
"We do not sanitize our data," Mintz said. Perhaps
it is a publishing error on the part of The Globe, she added.
The Globe's spokesperson for the Report Card was unavailable
"You don't need a research methodologist to tell you
that there's problems with this," said Jacquie Burkell,
an assistant professor of media, information and technoculture
who specializes in the field of research methodology. "They
were inviting people to respond to things they obviously knew
Burkell noted little can be concluded from the study if the
response rate is not known. "The bottom line is, you've
got a self-selected sample," she said. Therefore, only
those who wanted to respond - i.e., those who wanted to tell
the world how great Brock is - did so.
"It's unfortunate that these mistakes have happened," said
Paul Yeoman, University Students' Council president. "Overall,
the report is still valid," he said, adding he would not
throw it out because of the errors. "There still is some
merit to it."