Accession Number:

ADA091214

Title:

Informant Accuracy in Social Network Data V: An Experimental Attempt to Predict Communication from Recall Data.

Descriptive Note:

Interim rept.,

Corporate Author:

WEST VIRGINIA UNIV MORGANTOWN

Report Date:

1980-09-01

Pagination or Media Count:

59.0

Abstract:

This paper seeks to discover whether the known inaccuracy of informant recall about their communication behavior can be accounted for by experimentally varying the time period over which recall takes place. The experiment took advantage of a new communications medium computer conferencing which enabled us to monitor automatically all the interactions involving a subset of the computer network. The experiment itself was administered entirely by the computer, which interviewed informants and recorded their responses. Variations in time period failed to account for much of the inaccuracy, which continues, as in previous experiments at an unacceptably high level. One positive finding did emerge although people do not know with whom they communicate, people en masse seem to know certain broad facts about the communication pattern. All other findings were negative. For example, it is impossible to predict the people an informant claimed to communicate with but did not and it is impossible to predict who the five people are that an informant forgot to mention that she or he had had communication with. Thus, despite their presumed good intentions, what people say about their communications bears no resemblance to their behavior. This immediately makes suspect all forms of data gathering, based on questions which require that informants recall their behavior. Author

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE