Smelly Hippies Produce the Best Research

Note: this post contains nerdy academic content pertaining to quantitative and qualitative research methods (aka the quant/qual debate). Since YouTube has a video for everything, here’s a primer on the subject for those of you who think I just typed the same word twice:

Okay. Now that we’re all on the same page, I should probably tell you that (according to this video) I’m one of those smelly hippy types. Anyone that knows me in the real world has had to suffer through at least one of my rants about statistics. It’s actually a little surprising that I haven’t gone off about the subject on this blog yet….until now, that is.

You see, the thing about me is that I fully and completely subscribe to the belief that qualitative research allows you to glean more nuanced and useful data than quantitative research does. Sure, stats can give you insights into what a group/individual does, but numbers can only go so far. If you really want to know why people do what they do, I firmly believe you need step away from the regression analysis and talk to/observe your research subjects.

One of the main ways I’ve been coming into contact with stats lately is through this blog. Even though I shouldn’t admit this, I’m obsessed with my daily blog view stats. And since WordPress also allows you to see all of the search terms people use to find your blog posts, I’ve become a little too interested in that data as well…it is qualitative data, afterall!

By now you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with the quant/qual debate. I’m glad you asked!

On the one hand, a blog’s daily view stats shows a blogger how popular (or not) our posts are. And that’s always good to know…plus, we all get a kick out of watching the numbers rise because it means you like us, you really like us!

But when you check out the actual search terms that people use to find your blog posts, you really get to know what’s going on in your reader’s mind. And let me tell you, people search for a lot of strange terms. To demonstrate my point, here are some of the search terms that have led people to

  • eyelash bugs
  • how much are burger king matchbooks worth
  • poutine craze
  • bermuda shorts blogs
  • health benefits of a caesar drink
  • still sipping soda? translated in irish
  • what gets you drunk in arena draft beer
  • canadian bacon spoiler
  • susan boyle flirting
  • can you wear a costume on the strip in las vegas
  • cider manly drink
  • list of random french words
  • mustard amker to the pope
  • do matchbooks go bad
  • poutine what culture
  • anthropology street performer
  • irish base jumping
  • yankee stadium and canadian mustard
  • saddledome drunk urban legend
  • calgary stampede birth nine months highest rate

See what I mean about searching for strange terms? Granted, the stuff I’ve written about comes up when you search those words and phrases so I’ll take at least some of the blame. I also want to apologize to whoever found this blog when trying to translate “still sipping soda” into Irish. I have failed you, and I take full responsibility for that.

As you can see, checking out search terms gives me a lot of insight into what interests the people who visit this blog. If I only had stats to go on, all I would know is the number of people who have visited a given post. So boring! And in terms of the age-old debate between quantitative and qualitative research, I basically just single-handedly solved the argument once and for all.

You’re welcome, Social Science. You are very, very welcome.

What crazy search terms have led people to your blog? I’d love to hear about them, so let me know in the comment section!

2 thoughts on “Smelly Hippies Produce the Best Research

  1. I can totally relate to the quant/qual debate. I once wrote a whole paper on why modern experimental psychologists treat the research method of introspection like a scary disease 🙂

    Most people who end up on my blog search for ‘pocky’ (a kind of japanese chocolate cookie) and ‘mukade’ or ‘centipede’. I’m not so surprised that the post about the centipedes is so popular, but I had never expected that the post about pocky would be in such high demand. The internet is a strange place indeed!

    • The quant/qual debate is so strange, isn’t it? I completed my Master’s degree in a department where quant and qual professors wouldn’t even walk down the same hallway a few decades ago…and there’s some animosity simmering just under the surface even today.

      Thanks for sharing your search terms! I’d never heard of mukade before, but I’m pretty I’ll be having nightmares about them now that I’ve read your post. OMG they are nasty. While living in Australia I found a house spider in my bed that was much bigger than my hand. I think I’d rather have that as a bedmate than a mukade. Eek.

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