Lewandowsky’s Unreported Results

Some information from sources at the University of Western Australia. On October 21, 2010, the following email was sent to the UWA staff mailing list:

UWA researcher Charles Hanich is seeking participants for a web-based survey of attitudes towards climate science (and other sciences) and skepticism. The survey carries no risks for participants. To participate in the survey please use this link:

http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=HKLJIN_61fa37b2

Completion should take less than 10 minutes and all data will be analyzed anonymously and without monitoring or identifying individual responses.

Ref: RA/4/1/4007

[Notice approved by:
Human Research Ethics Committee,
Research Services, University of Western Australia ]

For some strange reason, the invitation is online at a web agggregator here. (I googled the survey id.)

Obvious questions:
What was the results of UWA staff who actually took the survey. Surely this would have made an interesting comparison group with the bloggers who are the target of the Moon-landing paper.

It would have been a logical comparison. Was it done and discarded? If so, why? If it wasn’t, why wasn’t it done?


42 Comments

  1. Posted Sep 12, 2012 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

    The date shown is 21st October 2010. Can we rely on this from answerpot.com as the date Charles Hanich made the request known? And to whom? How do we know that the mailing list this was sent to was UWA only Steve?

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

      OK, with help from the university of the blindingly obvious, I’ve now spotted the small print on AnswerPot that says

      Go to http://maillists.uwa.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/notices to subscribe

      which I’ve just done (without subscribing) and found

      This is a moderated list for the dissemination of notices relevant to UWA which are not suitable for the All-Staff or UWA-events lists.

      Some notices require additional approval. For example, those requesting volunteers for UWA research studies must come from the Human Research Ethics Committee (Kathryn Kirk).

      All-Staff is presumably fairly self-explanatory. UWA-events would I assume include outsiders. My hunch from the wording here is that this list does too.

      Well worth asking the questions. Am I right that there’s been no mention at all of any use of a mailing list to send out invites from Lewandowsky so far? All of Steve’s questions stand either way.

    • Anthony Watts
      Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM | Permalink

      Richard, some FAQs from Answerpot might help

      http://answerpot.com/faq.php

      Below are the answers to some commonly asked questions:

      Q. What is Answerpot?
      A. Answerpot is a mailing list archiving project that aims to expand mailing list communities and provide a searchable archive.

      Q. Where do the posts come from?
      A. All of the posts are recieved from a diverse collection of mailing lists around the globe.

      As I understand it, you sign up mailing lists for archival to allow searching.

      Backing up a bit from the URL Steve posted, I find this:

      http://answerpot.com/forumdisplay.php?0-L255990-Notices

      Look at the notices, they are all related to studies, and most have UWA in the title. The one labeled “Invitation to take part in web-based survey of attitudes towards science” is authored by Charles, or as indicated in the announcement, Charles Hanich.

      It seems clear to me that this is a UWA mail list aggregation.

      • Anthony Watts
        Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

        And as I was writing this post, I see you found additional info that makes it even clearer.

  2. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 12, 2012 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    http://whois.domaintools.com/skepticalscience.com shows John Cook as the domain owner, Tom Curtis’s realm

    http://whois.domaintools.com/shapingtomorrowsworld.org shows John Cook as the domain owner, Stephan Lewandowsky’s realm.

    http://whois.domaintools.com/climaterapidresponse.org shows John Cook as the domain owner

    Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook are co-authors of the “Debunking Handbook”

  3. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

    seeking participants for a web-based survey of attitudes towards climate science (and other sciences) and skepticism

    Funny, when I initially read the above I had to go back and double-check to make sure that the invite received by Pielke Jr. was the same (it is). Something I hadn’t noticed the first time, is that the above wording suggests that one would expect the survey to be exploring participants’ attitudes towards climate science, other sciences and skepticism. i.e. How do I feel about climate science? How do I feel about other sciences? How do I feel about skepticism?

    And for all we know – considering that the date is even later than the infamous Sept/2010 invites – perhaps this one was such an exploration (rather than the bait and switch it appears to be in retrospect) and the questions were completely different!

  4. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

    In the paper the fieldwork dates are given as Aug-Oct. The paper doesn’t actually say that all responses were from the climate blogs. All blogs known to have publicised the survey did so in late August. The last comment mentioning the survey is dated 1 September. By 23 September he had 1100+ responses (before or after elimination of duplicates?) according to his Monash presentation. So maybe the Aug-Oct fieldwork date indicates that UWA responses were used.

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

      I’m suggesting that ‘UWA responses’ is best seen for now as responses arising from this UWA mailing list request, responses which may or may not have been from UWA staff. Until we know more. Which we certainly should by now, if Lewandowsky had any interest at all in reporting properly. Still, there’s always Steve McIntyre and Google to fall back on. Oh my.

  5. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

    The best way to learn about anything is to ask a large number of people at the University of Western Australia. This is an axiom of cognitive psychology and I’m surprised that it isn’t more widely appreciated.

    • papiertigre
      Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

      heh. Good one.

  6. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

  7. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    Sorry I posted a near identical comment on a previous thead. I meant to post it on this thread, but did it in the wrong window by accident.

    Anyway:

    Is it just me, but I can not help but wonder about some things.

    1. Could there be a link between asking UWA staff to do the survey, and going of the way to allow multiple responses from a single IP address (as previously reported on ClimateAudit)?

    I mean wasn\’t the explanation given of why the methodology chosen allows multiple responses from a single IP address, that in circumstances like multiple staff responding from \”our lab\” (or similar words), this IP address flexibility would be neede.

    2. ClimateAudit chooses the title of the \”Unreported Results\”. Are we sure they are unreported? Is it possible that some of the UWA staff responses may be included in the survey results?

    Is there any statement from Lewandowksy, or other evidence, to exclude this possibility?

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

      This is all the paper has on who took part:
      Participants
      Visitors to climate blogs voluntarily completed an online questionnaire between
      August and October 2010 (N = 1377). Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science
      science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 “skeptic” (or “skeptic”-leaning)
      blogs were approached but none posted the link.

      Visitors to climate blogs completed it, but it doesn’t say other people didn’t.
      Since all responses from climate blogs would have been in by early September, the only reason I can see to extend fieldwork to October would be to pick up some more respondents. One can easily imagine one of the authors objecting that the 8 (or 6) blogs gave too narrow a source population, Hanich being sent off on a half-hearted and unsuccessful effort to pick up some from sceptic blogs, and a final effort being made by this internal method.
      Another question to put to Lewandowsky.

    • Posted Sep 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

      Hmm, possible but unlikely. Most academic institutions usually enjoy having multiple class C IP blocks to play with. if NAT is used it should be easy to detect and allow multiple submissions from.

      In fact in this case UWA has a whole class B to play with

      130.95.0.0 – 130.95.255.255

      so unless they have more than 65336 individual machines connected they should all have static IP’s.

  8. Chris D.
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

    This post prompted me to go back and double check whether or not there was a control population. There was none. Fatal. UWA staff probably wouldn’t have been an appropriate control.

  9. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

    My only problem is that they are calling this crap “Science”. I know science. This isn’t science.

  10. DGH
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

    Lewandowsky’s paper states, “Visitors to climate blogs voluntarily completed an online questionnaire between
    August and October 2010 (N = 1377).” The university survey would fall into that window.

    It seems unlikely that he would include those results in the paper. Indeed the paper itself only mentions the blogs.

    But then again you have the email to Pielke Jr. Charles Hanich write, “This, however, will block legitimate use of the same computer, such as in our laboratory, where numerous participants use the same PCs.”

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 7:35 AM | Permalink

      presumably if UWA staff visited the climate blogs, to take the survey they would be included….

      ie directing people to the blogs that were hosting the surveys?

      • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

        But the message sent to the mailing list, reproduced by Steve, points directly to kwiksurveys.com so there was no need for any respondees to go through a blog.

        • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

          and if it was the same kwiksurvey, as listed on a ‘pro-science’ blog, would not these results be mixed in.. The papers methodology is so unlcear, all we can do is ask questions. the paper is vague, did ALL the respondents come from pro-science blogs, were these numbers added to by uwa staff, or not..
          if not, what became of the uwa data, junkscience also – hosted the survey, with what looks like an invitation from Hanich) what became of that data..

          A control survey amongst the general public (uninterested in the CC debate would have been useful) in all probability, both sceptic and ‘pro-science’ blogs, even on this flawed data, may have come out more sceptical about all the conspiracy theories than the general population…

          just for amusement value, as it covers some of the conpiracy theories in the Lewandowsky paper…

          survey Of 1,000 British adults in Jul 2008.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/31/1

          The online poll, by film company 20th Century Fox·
          1 Area 51 exists to investigate aliens (48%)·
          2 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government (38%)·
          3 Apollo landing was a hoax (35%)·
          4 Diana and Dodi were murdered (32%)·
          5 The Illuminati secret society and masons are trying to take over the world (25%)·
          6 Scientologists rule Hollywood (17% )·
          7 Barcodes are really intended to control people (7%)·
          8 Microsoft sends messages via Wingdings (6%)·
          9 US let Pearl Harbour happen (5%)·
          10 The world is run by dinosaur-like reptiles (3%)

        • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Sep 13 08:04),

          Yep … here is the Answerpot.com listing:

          Invitation to take part in web-based survey of attitudes towards science

          by Charles 21-10-2010, 2:54 am Go to last post

          Interesting is the DATE …

          Here is the text at that link – points directly as noted to the survey – no blogs involved:

          21-10-2010 02:54 AM – UWA researcher Charles Hanich is seeking participants for a web-based
          survey of attitudes towards climate science (and other sciences) and skepticism. The survey carries no risks for participants. To participate in the survey please use this link:

          http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=HKLJIN_61fa37b2

          Completion should take less than 10 minutes and all data will be analyzed anonymously and without monitoring or identifying individual responses. Ref: RA/4/1/4007

          [Notice approved by: Human Research Ethics Committee, Research Services, University of Western Australia ]

          It is the same survey address provided to the Psychology Mailing List group

      • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

        http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=HKLJIN_61fa37b2

        According to list from Third Skeptic story here:

        Currently known distribution of surveys.

        Warmist:
        profmandia HKMKNF_991e2415
        deltoid HKMKNF_991e2415
        hot-topic HKMKNF_991e2415
        tamino HKMKNF_991e2415
        illconsidered HKMKNG_ee191483
        bbickmore HKMKNG_ee191483
        skepticalscience ???
        trunity ???

        Skeptic:
        junkscience HKMKNI_9a13984
        climateaudit HKMKNI_9a13984
        pielke jr ??? [SM- HKMKNH_7ea60912]
        climatedepot ???[HKMKNI_9a13984]
        spencer ???HKMKNH_7ea60912

        This would appear to be a new survey ID … given to both UWA and the Pysch lists

  11. son of mulder
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    “The survey carries no risks for participants.”

    Why would they have to make such a statement?

    • Gary
      Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

      The ethics of research involving human and animals have caused a proliferation in standards of practice. When research can cause some degree of harm (even as minor as a bit of emotional discomfort), participants must give informed consent. So when there’s no risk of harm, a statement saying so covers the bases. Don’t know about Australia, but in the US researchers using human subjects in surveys are frequently required by Institutional Review Boards (university committees to monitor research activities for compliance with the standards) to take several hours of training. See for example https://www.citiprogram.org/Default.asp?

      • son of mulder
        Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

        So if a partiicipant was a climate scientist and replied that anthropogenic affects on the climate were not dangerous it is assured that there would be no risk to their career?

    • DGH
      Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

      Here’s the ethics application provided by Dr. L to his students (scroll down)…

      http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/CogSci_Honours_Handbook_2011.pdf

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

      Perhaps Lewandowsky was trained by Dr Peter Venkman (famous cognitive psychologist, with similarly refined techniques).

  12. Paul Matthews
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Since Lewandowsky has stated that such research is useless if it doesn’t follow the standard procedure of recording all IP addresses, it will become clear whether or not the UWA responders were included when he releases this data.

    Unfortunately, rather than addressing this question or any of the other serious issues, Lewandowsky’s latest post is more concerned with attacking Oliver Manuel and Christopher Monckton.

  13. DGH
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Then there’s this…http://www.all-about-psychology.com/psychology-research-participants.html

    “Stephan Lewandowsky & Charles Hanich from The University of Western Australia are recruiting participants for an online study which explores attitudes towards science. Participants will be asked to complete a survey consisting of around 40 questions which should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

    This study has been approved by The University of Western Australia ethics committee.

    For full details and/or to take part in this research, please Click Here.”

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: DGH (Sep 13 08:36),

      From DGH’s link:

      Stephan Lewandowsky & Charles Hanich from The University of Western Australia are recruiting participants for an online study which explores attitudes towards science. Participants will be asked to complete a survey consisting of around 40 questions which should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

      This study has been approved by The University of Western Australia ethics committee.

      For full details and/or to take part in this research, please Click Here.

      The link provided is:

      http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=HKLJIN_61fa37b2

      There was no “visit to a blog” required, unless one believes the “All-About-Psychology.com “Studies Recruiting Psychology Research Participants” Page is a “blog”

  14. Craig Loehle
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    Dollars to donuts, no one (or almost no one) from UWA filled out the survey. Not sufficiently motivated.

  15. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    Lew and his colleague state that, recognition of “suspect responses”, or fake responses in their survey depends on a cognitive model which rests on

    “(a) the tacit premise that no one could possibly be serious when endorsing all conspiracy theories, and it would include (b) the further deduction that anyone who does this must be faking the response. A further deduction (c) could be added that this faking was done in order to cast aspersions on people who reject (climate) science.”

    Recognition of fake responses to any given survey, including Lew’s survey, does NOT depend ANY of the three points listed in Mr Lew’s cognitive model.

    In extreme cases, recognition of fake responses can be made independent of the content of the answers to survey questions – it is a question of pattern recognition and does not involve reading the mind of the participants.

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

      Re: Shub Niggurath (Sep 13 08:42), Shub: Even as I write this I am having second thoughts — but (gulp) here goes…

      I know somebody — and he has several employees — who I believe does ascribe to all the theories — my memory may fail me and maybe he misses one or two — but that’s OK — because he and his staff have others with which they will be pleased to educate you. If he had replied and answered honestly would his answers be a “fake” — or is he simply an outlier?

      I have met him, talked with him, corresponded with him and discussed common interests — in quite rational matters I assure you. I also find his staff are quite rational. They just have a different belief system than you and I and for some reason are quite open to these theories. I do admit that I can be become uncomfortable at times with him and his bunch — but 90% of the time I have no discomfort with the matters that are under discussion.

      Steve probably knows of him but likely has never met him or dealt with him as while he lives not far from him they move in different worlds if I may put it that way. Also, his business has likely come to Steve’s attention — unknowingly I suspect.

      My point is simply that sometimes what seems obvious is far from obvious.

      If Steve contact me I will be pleased to pass along the name and business — just not publicly as I happen to think he is a “nice guy” despite this minor “character flaw”…

  16. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    This is absolutely typical in psychology. If you are testing the preferences of a select group, your results will always be more robust with a control population. Most professors just use a class full of students and force them all to take the survey. It is a good way of preventing self selection bias in a control population. In Lewandowsky’s study, he was basically trying to compare two self-selected groups, skeptics and adherents. A key significance test is whether either or both groups are statistically distinguishable from the general population. Unfortunately, it looks like he did his due diligence…and then suppressed the results. As Steve would say, a trademark of climate science.

    • DGH
      Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

      I’m certainly not an expert but how can his colleagues? And his students? Presumably they were all invited through this list. Hanich said as much in an email to Pielke, Jr.

      If you consider the all-about-psychology.com denizens a reasonable control, that’s fine. However, he used the same survey for them as he used at UWA.

      If that’s his control data it seems contaminated to me.

    • Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

      Re: Matt Skaggs (Sep 13 08:53), If that is the case then it should have been clearly stated in the paper.

  17. fastfreddy101
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    Somehow reading Lewandowsky’s antics, a certain Stapel (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111101/full/479015a.html) springs to mind….

  18. eqibno
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    From the comments on Lewandowsky’s latest blog-post:

    The problem is that your mental model (perhaps you should think of it as a Mental Trap of Preconception) caught more warmists believing in conspiracies than skeptics.

    More people on your side of the fence believe in conspiracies than do skeptics.

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/lewandowskyDH.html#996

    Would that not be that because he mostly used warmist blogs (the preponderance of respondants) that only the scammed results show as skeptical and the majority are indeed warmist as to be expected?

  19. John from CA
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    This helps to explain how they managed to find over a thousand responses to a survey that would have drawn very little interest due to the slanted nature of the questions.

    I suspect, due to lack of response, they opened the survey to UWA staff who would have been sympathetically motivated to respond and suffer through the questions.

    The other aspect that throws me, unless the survey electronically required that all questions be answered, its curious that all questions were answered as its very common to receive incomplete surveys.

    The survey also appeared to requested response for age and gender which were not reported.

  20. DGH
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    More unreported results? The link from this site that promoted the survey is no longer available. The URL may or may not have been the same that was circulated at the University of Western Australia.

    http://www.onlinepsychresearch.co.uk/studies/past-studies/economic-psychology-past-studies/

    • DGH
      Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

      I just discovered that Foxgoose reported this link on Bishop-Hill on the 9/5.

  21. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    BTW – here is a kinda cool aggregator page I stumbled across ….

    http://climate-change.alltop.com/

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] UPDATE:  Steve McIntyre reports the survey was also distrinute don the UWA campus. He writes: [...]

  2. [...] compromising the data integrity, yesterday Steve McIntyre discovers that Lewandowsky’s assistant, Charles Hanich offered the survey to staff and faculty…, but there’s no mention of this in the peer reviewed paper, and no record of whether those [...]

  3. [...] Lewandowsky’s Unreported Results Sep 12, 2012 – 11:24 PM [...]

  4. By psych-astrology pair … updates | pindanpost on Sep 15, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    [...] Lewandowsky’s Unreported Results [...]

  5. By Lewandowsky Timeline | Geoffchambers's Blog on Mar 24, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    [...] http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/12/lewandowskys-unreported-results/ [...]

  6. By Lew’s Third Table | Geoffchambers's Blog on Aug 9, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    […] http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/12/lewandowskys-unreported-results […]

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