An Informal Poll on “Extras” in Speculative Fiction

I'm currently going through the edits for Part 2, and realise I need you again… So this time, it's just one question, concerning appendices, maps, and the like, in SF and fantasy novels. As for last time, I'll be extremely grateful for any signal boosting!

So here goes:

Thanks for your help!

In case you missed it, I submitted a poll with a few questions on the readership of speculative fiction. Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to give it a look, I manage to gather a little over 100 responses, which is not bad. At this stage, I realised a few things:

First, the demographics of Lj users who took it is apparently quite specific. There were four times more women than men, and lots of professional writers. That's quite a useful thing for me to know, however: I may need to post a couple more polls, and I need to know what kind of people will respond, so I can tell whether to treat the participants as a representative sample of the SFF readership, or to use a little caution with my results. Obviously there can't be that many writers in the SFF fandom at large (and I'm quite sure the male-to-female ratio is quite different, as well), so I'll need to take that into account during future polls. At this stage Lj is the only tool I can use to pool the Internet, as I don't have time to learn more elaborate computer skills, so I need to know how to use the results I get.

Secondly, according to my scientifically minded siblings, drawing conclusions on such things as "Do men really prefer science fiction and women fantasy, or is that a huge cliché?" would require me to use some pretty complicated algorithms, or else break down my poll into a dozen smaller ones (ie. one designed for female readers who are also professional writers, one for female readers who aren't, one for male readers who are professional wroters etc. etc.), which would make things more complicated not only for me, but also for the respondants. So until I learn about the complicated algorithms in question, I'll try to find a way around it.

Thirdly, socio-professional categories are more complicated than they sound. I didn't imagine I could mess such a simple thing up, but apparently I did…

So, in conclusion: I have some more learning to do before I can design polls that can be used in formal research. Nevermind, I'll work with the informal now, and save the real scientific stuff for when I've finally learned the fine art of poll-designing and poll-tuning…


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