SC 200: Unspoken Collaboration?


| 4 Comments

When I was completing the comment portion of Blog Period 2, it came to my attention that some blog posts had three to four comments, while others remained at zero comments. Further observing my own behavior and thought processes, I realized based on strictly number of comments the blog received, the higher the number of comments, the more I was compelled to also comment on the same blog. My business-orientented mental process, by default, led me to believe my fellow students had a jump start ahead of me, and had already sifted out the more challenged blogs and hit straight to the perhaps more enjoyable, easily/quickly-to-comment-on blogs. But I quickly stood back and realized there has to be more to the story. So, I constructed an experiment.  

I chose 15 random blogs and measured how many comments they received and how many paragraphs they wrote. My hypothesis is the shorter the entry, the more comments received, (making the dreadful assumption to Andrew's eyes & ears), that the students of SC 200 are slothful and uninterested. This is an observational study therefore I have constructed a scatter plot to display my results. 

 

comments to paragraphs.png

As you can see, no correlation! Although some instances stand true, for the majority there is no relationship between length of blog post and comments (I hope this delights you Andrew, the instructor blogs faith in us students is rather alarming). Also, I am not very proficient in excel so here in the kiddy website I made my graphs from.

I did not want to stop here so I further compared number of comments to number of pictures. Hypothesis remaining that the more comments received, the more pictures shown in a post, assumings students can recognize a blog by picture quicker than words. 

comments to pictures.png

Again, no correlation. However, direct causation is only one facet of possibilities for explanation. When dealing with observation experiments, third variables are commonly problematic when a news article wants to turn correlation into causation. Since there is no correlation in my testing, the "third" variable can represent all other factors affecting the number of comments that don't include (number of paragraphs and pictures.)  Interest to the topic of blog (sports, health), familiarization with images, familiarization with topic, etc. can be possible third variables (in terms of my experiment). My last theory is that students like me naturally are drawn to the blogs with an existing comment and skip over other personal factors. Certainly, this study has a lot due with chance. To correctly perform this experiment I would limit the data on the blogs of only first commenters and see where true pattern arises. Results would be quite interesting.

 

But hey, big pictures and few words don't attract these students! Maybe we're learning something!!!!! ?? 

4 Comments

Hi Julie! It was interesting that you conducted a mini-experiment on our blog posts. I too, think about why some blogs have a lot of comments and some have zero. The factors are endless- maybe a topic is easier to talk about, or requires less research from the student. Your experiment was thorough but maybe next time you could repeat it a few times or add more data to it! I'm sure that if you had the time to survey all student blogs and comments then you would find some kind of overall correlation. For more tips on conducting experiments, you can check out this how-to article: http://www.wikihow.com/Conduct-a-Science-Experiment

This was a well thought out observation. I too have noticed this trend on the blog and have been curious about it. It seems people tend to comment most on blogs with at least one comment, but generally don't if there are more than four comments. This is probably because they feel that after four comments, everything to say has been exhausted. I think that people generally don't like to be the first to comment because they feel pressured to say something perfect, whereas, if a few others have already commented, even if they are wrong it will matter less. I always assumed that it had to do with the length of the post as well, but as I can see that's not the case.

Love the graphs. Caught my eye right away to your post. My only comment would be that I feel like you have to do more than 1 observation study to really have a better understanding of what is going on. To me it seems like a third variable we can test. What about Topic. You could do the same graph but on the x axis there is the topic and on the y axis the average number of comments. I think the highest ranking would be either sports or diets.

I love the topic you chose for this blog! I was actually just talking about this the other day and definitely thought it had something to do with the length of the post. I was almost certain that the shorter the post the more comments it got because from what i was seeing most of the blogs with 4 or more comments only had under 4 paragraphs total. After reading your blog though i came up with another variable that could affect how people comment; time until the deadline. I feel like blog posts from when the blogging period started are going to have a lot less than posts towards the absolute tail end of the period. I think with a topic like this though there are countless variables to keep in mind so to learn more about them and how to avoid having them ruin your experiment check out the link below!
http://explorable.com/confounding-variables

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