Article Date: 5/1/2011

Taking Time to Conduct “Research”

Taking Time to Conduct “Research”

If you can't appreciate the moment, transform it into a study.

From the Editorial Director, Jim Thomas

Sitting in traffic while driving the kids to their basketball game on a sunny 85° day, I do my best to put up defenses against screams, kicks and flying objects originating from the back seat. My Dad's solution of “don't make me pull this car over” worked well for him, but that would only prolong this ride.

Option two, “Hey kids, why don't you save that energy for the game?” sounds like a homerun, but as a solution, it bats under 100. (My apologies for mixing a baseball metaphor into the basketball event.)

Option three, asking the children for their help, seems counterintuitive, but this solution has yet to fail me.

Organizing the researchers

“I need you to help me with a poll for work,” I tell them. “From now until we get to the gym, look at the people in the cars around us, and count how many are wearing sunglasses and how many aren't.”

“Do we get paid?” my child asks.

“Ice cream cones—one topping, and your choice of cone,” I answer.

The study begins.

Purpose: To observe a random sampling of drivers and passengers to determine how many take advantage of sun protection.

The kids, one daughter and two neighbors, soon argue over how they'll count.

Methods: One child will count each car occupant who is wearing sunglasses, a second will count each one without sunglasses, and the third (who is destined for success) will manage the counters.

The counting becomes a contest over who can shout the loudest. The “with sunglasses” child, my daughter, wins but it's a close match (and of course, as I'm the parent, I'm biased).

Results: The children count a total of 19 people (37%) who wear sunglasses and 32 who wear no sun protection.

That seems like a low percentage of sunglass wearers, but children are riding in many of the cars, and I don't see any wearing sunglasses. So I'll stand by the results.

Other studies

I conduct a few other highly unscientific polls at the gym. Several parents hold papers at arm's length to read them. The referee squints at the game clock. Most of the children play without any form of eye correction or vision protection.

Conclusion: In the study population, many subjects would benefit from the education, care and services of an optometric practice.

And now it's time to find another method of keeping my researchers occupied on the ride home. OM

Optometric Management, Issue: May 2011