On Sportscenter last night as well as on their website, ESPN last night was pushing a survey of 72 NFL players regarding the recent locker room troubles involving the Miami Dolphins. The problem: the survey is unscientific, something they mentioned at the beginning of the TV reports. The online story includes a similar disclaimer at the beginning of the third paragraph:
But in an unscientific survey conducted by team reporters for ESPN.com’s NFL Nation over two days this week, Incognito does not have the same level of support from some of his peers. Three players participated from each team surveyed, with 72 players in all asked three questions. The players taking part were granted anonymity.
If the survey is unscientific, why do they then spend time discussing the results? If they admit upfront that it is unscientific, what exactly could the viewer/reader learn from the data? It is good that they mentioned the unscientific sample but their own statement suggests we shouldn’t put much stock in what they say next.