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Research is a Girl's Best Friend

Research is a Girl's Best Friend

Oh man, I really, really promised myself that I wasn't going to write about the Internet economy again for a long, long time. Time to give it a rest I thought, but the fickle finger of fate having wrote, moved me on, so to speak.

A while back I received an e-mail alerting me to the commissioning of a report on the Internet economy (thank you, delete, next e-mail). Then a week ago I received another e-mail inviting me to its unveiling, hopefully enticing me there with the prospect of answers to these burning questions: "Is Australian business embracing the Internet? Will it reap the financial benefits of the promised robust Internet economy? What is the economic impact of the Internet on Australia's overall economy?", (yawn, delete, next e-mail). Yesterday I received the report via e-mail (didn't delete this time - there is something soooo compelling about research, isn't there?).

But then, this morning lo and behold before my very eyes, in one of the dailies there's a news story about the report treating it as the gospel truth. Among other things, it reported that the Internet economy is 4.3 per cent of Australia's economy. Now try this on for size. Guess what company commissioned the report? Cisco. Do we perhaps have a vested interest here? But that's for another time, another soapbox.

My grievance for this editorial will be limited to research's inherent fudge factor. People are not entirely honest when it comes to surveys. I'm certainly not. For example, when filling out the occasional customer profile, I have been known to, well let's say, nudge my number of international business class trips up a notch. And, until the demographic form writers finally tweaked that we baby boomers were starting to get a bit prickly about our age, and changed the age groupings from 40-50 and 50+ to 45-55, I might have occasionally ticked the wrong box.

But the one I'd bet dollars to donuts gets the biggest porkies (thank you, Masters and Johnson) are in those surveys that frequent the pages of women's and lifestyle magazines: How often do you have sex? Yep, six times a day at least: twice in the morning, afternoon delight, on the kitchen table, name a place and we know it in the biblical sense. We're constantly at it like a couple of sex-starved rabbits on Ecstasy. Okay, so I answered based on what my husband wants, not what he gets. Who's checking - other than him?

My point is, why, knowing that honesty is not always the policy when it comes to surveys, do we continue to accept so many of them as God's truth?

As for me, I've just organised a research report I intend to deliver to my husband just before our anniversary next month. It substantiates that if he purchases a certain pair of diamond earrings at Tiffany's, the average number of times he'll have sex a day will increase 48.5 per cent. He won't believe it, but he'll buy the earrings - just in case.

Research: make it work for you, too.

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