Durham Fact Checker

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Feb 25

Are the results of the Resident Satisfaction Survey valid?

Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:08 AM by City of Durham

 Small red circle with white X mark   The City of Durham Resident Satisfaction Survey reported false information because not all residents or a majority of residents were contacted. Additionally, the random sample was not fair because it didn’t account for race or income. Therefore, the information regarding a high satisfaction could not possibly be true.

 Small blue circle with white check mark   The City of Durham Resident Satisfaction Survey presents an accurate picture of how residents feel about city programs and services.

According to commonly accepted research methods, the 2020 Durham Resident Satisfaction Survey conducted is 
statistically valid. While sampling as many residents as possible would be desirable, reaching out to Durham’s more than 275,000 residents would be costly, inefficient and almost impossible. So, like every researcher who conducts surveys, ETC Institute, which conducted the City’s survey, determined the number of survey respondents needed to ensure a very high confidence level of the information obtained by the survey. With commonly accepted statistical sampling practices that took into account the City’s population and other demographics such as race and where residents live in the city, ETC determined that the sample size would be 600 residents. In actuality, 605 people responded to the survey. The City’s survey has a 95% level of confidence, with a margin of error of /-4%.  That means that were this survey conducted 100 times, the results would be within a four percentage-point range 96 out of 100 times. For example, if a rating was 64% very satisfied or satisfied, 96 out of 100 times the rating would fall between 60%-68%. Not perfect, but pretty close.

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Tag(s): survey