Saturday, 24 February 2018

Survey Results: likely and unlikely in genealogy

Thanks for the 85 respondents to this survey. I found the results surprising.
The survey question was:
A trusted professional informs you a genealogical relationship is "LIKELY". Move the slider to the probability you would assign to "LIKELY" on this scale of confidence?
There was the same question for "UNLIKELY".
The median result, as many above as below is 66% confidence for LIKELY, 25% for UNLIKELY, consistent with the results of the Perception of Probability study reported previously.

This plot of the number of responses in each 5 per cent bin shows a great range in understanding.
Ten responses had a higher confidence for UNLIKELY than LIKELY. It's possible the way they interpreted the question was that they were more likely to believe the "trusted professional: when they said something was unlikely than when they said it was likely.
My conclusion is that while the median confidence conveyed by the terms for genealogists is the same as in the general population the scatter of results shows there is no general understanding of probability in the genealogical community.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The day our math teacher tried to teach us about probability my brain was hiding under the desk in a blue funk. That was apparently the only day allowed for the topic in the syllabus. I expect many others received the same deficient education in the topic. If you express probability in terms of a percentage, or range of percentages, we may be able to get a grip on what you mean. Otherwise we judge from our experience of social interactions where "likely" means there's a more then even chance of something happening, and "unlikely" is a polite way of saying, "when Hell freezes over!"