From the LaunchPad

Welcome to The Launchpad, SoundRocket’s blog, where we share our insights and musings on the science of doing science (well), #soundscience.

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Is now a good time? Surveying higher ed students in a pandemic

Is now a good time? Surveying higher ed students in a pandemic

One of the most common questions I am fielding today—with COVID-19 spreading across the nation, is now a good time to conduct surveys? Is the pandemic having an impact on response rates?

As one of my favorite grad school professors, Mick Couper, loved to say, “It depends.”

Whether one engages in a survey right now will depend on their current status. This may not be a good time to survey emergency department staff. Professionals who are engaged in conducting online surveys may also have their hands full of work (from home) and may not have much extra time to spare. But if you are surveying the general population, with exploding rates of unemployment, you may have better luck. Students in higher education have been ripped from their regular social routines and disconnected from others. They may welcome an opportunity to share their experiences . . .

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Customer Trajectory: Michael Linderman

Customer Trajectory: Michael Linderman

On an early June afternoon, Michael Linderman and I sat in our respective offices, our faces connected as they often are through a Zoom video call. Mine in Michigan, his in Vermont. I was eager to chat—I had only once before known someone to attend Harvey Mudd College, one of the seven contiguous Claremont Colleges huddled together in an otherwise sleepy Los Angeles suburb. I had heard stories from the other Mudd alumni I know about pranks pulled against their Caltech rivals (Google “Caltech Cannon Heist” if you want to learn more), and I wanted to know if Michael had been involved.

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Personal Genetic Tests: 12,000 Gallons of Drool

Personal Genetic Tests: 12,000 Gallons of Drool

When I am asked often what I do for a living – a recent story I get to say is “We watch people spit, and then ask them about their experience.” That usually draws a raised eyebrow, and often silence as the recipient of that nugget decides how to rearrange those words into something that makes more sense. Generally, they don’t get there without help.

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Revisiting the Role of the Science Journalist

Revisiting the Role of the Science Journalist

In today’s ecosystem of online science publications, it can be hard to tell what qualifies as journalism and what doesn’t. Does it matter?

For Erin Zimmerman, a plant molecular biologist turned freelance science writer living in Ontario, Canada, a recent plant science conference presented a rare opportunity to meet scientists working in the field and to gin up some story ideas.

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Republish from UNDARK: Where Scientific Mistakes Are Welcome

Republish from UNDARK: Where Scientific Mistakes Are Welcome

This is a first for the Launch Pad blog – a complete republish (with permission) of an article from another source.  The article included below hit on something that I feel strongly about – enough so that just a summary would not do it justice.  

Science is learning and growth in knowledge.  If we got it all “right” the first time, it would be a downright boring process (and not science!).  Science is about making mistakes, learning from them, and gradually (or sometimes not so gradually) improving on a shared general knowledge.

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