Online surveys and my data

So, I started doing online polls for money because Suzanna at the BHRU said that this was how she recruited her study participants. For those of you interested it doesn’t pay very well. I have been filling in polls for about 6 months now and have still not yet reached the threshold where they actually pay me for all the surveys I have done.

So, I have also been doing polls and surveys on Mumsnet. Fractionally more success here, as they did send me a bag of chocolate for an early attempt. A few weeks ago I was vaguely unimpressed by a survey on awareness of Meningitis symptoms that ended with a slightly loaded and did you know there is a vaccine available for Meningitis B but it isn’t available as part of the routine vaccination schedule. Anyway, today twitter tells me that it is now going to become part of the routine vaccination schedule. So I get to blog about Mumsnet and health policy in the same paragraph again, and also to wonder where all my survey-filling-in-activity actually ends up (clearly when not with Suzanna for her research with the BHRU).

On a related note, Ben Goldacre pointed out in the Guardian during the hoo-haa last month that pseudonymised data may be entirely identifiable if you put your mind to it. Given the amount of survey data now out there on my opinions and preferences the inclusion of my health record in pales into insignificance.

This is something that we discuss from time to time in the office – the amount of information that supermarkets know about us via their clubcard schemes. And so related to this is some more recent work from the BHRU which shows the important-implications-for-public-health-policy-but-probably-unsurprising-news-to-supermarket-marketing-strategists finding that people buy more alcohol if it is prominently located at the end of supermarket aisles.

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