Letter: Unscientific survey may be misleading

Dear Editor:
While I agree that it is important to seek public input on the Outdoor Adventure Center, a survey such as offered on your website can be misleading.
Valid surveys, by the rigorous rules of statistical sampling, must be administered to a sample of people from the community who are randomly selected, include sufficient numbers of respondents to measure significance, and provide follow-up contact to assure at least 85 percent response by the sample. Otherwise, a survey is likely to sample only the people who happened to notice the survey invitation and who are highly motivated to respond (usually because they feel strongly one way or the other). An open survey also cannot rule out manipulation, e.g. by multiple responses from the same individual or by an individual recruiting friends with similar viewpoints.
It will be interesting to see your survey results, but they will not necessarily represent the consensus sentiment of the community.
Bob Dorsett, MD