Monday, October 26, 2009

In the Field, Again

After about a month of data work, I'm back "in the field." Being in the field is a pain. It's hot and dirty, and your office work doesn't go away -- it just gets done in the second eight hours you work. But I'm glad to be working outside again. I have an assumption shattered, or learn something that I really should have known every time.

This time, we were delivering envelopes to our respondents, with a paper inside that they had to remove. I stapled the envelope -- and therefore the paper inside the envelope -- to a page that described how to locate the respondent. I was obsessed with the idea that it would be impossibly difficult to remove the staple, everyone would get pissed, and the paper would be torn and ruined when they gave up and tore it out. Or, at least, that it would be a hassle.

I forgot that I was working with tailors -- they had the staple out and envelope open in no time flat.


  1. You were right to be concerned. Removing staples is one of the most absurdly time-consuming parts of my project. You wouldn't believe the cumulative hours I've spent sitting in a farmer's house while the field staff person painstakingly chips away at the staple with worn nails. Such is people's reverence for an official-looking piece of paper that they absolutely refuse just to tear off the corner with the staple in, even when I (who produced the pieces of paper, after all) directly tell them to.

  2. Sounds like you need to work with tailors!