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Mr17Hz

*new* Annual Skydiving Survey (your help is requested!)

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Hello all,

Soon, my full time focus will be dedicated to providing software solutions for the Skydiving Industry. One of my secondary projects is going to be setting up an annual Skydiving Survey.

This will be a fairly elaborate survey. It will be administered online using a custom web application. I expect that the survey will take the average person 30 minutes to an hour and a half to take. The base of it will be required to be tallied in the resulting report, many more advanced questions will be optional.

Also included in this project will be an attempt at collecting malfunction information. This information can be entered in the end-of-year report; but also submitted throughout the year as you may experience them.

I expect this system to be online by January 1st 2007. 2006 data will be collected up until February 28th 2007, and the resulting report will be made available to the public before April 1st. My intention is to make this an annual service.

The report will provide anonymous information. Anonymous from the perspective names will not be provided with data unless permission is granted at the time of taking the survey. I will be working with a few people who have dealt with developing privacy policies in the past to work out specifics before it goes live.

The results of the survey will be 100% free to the public; and I will even set up custom query forms so that you can "ask your own questions" against the data. I plan to give publishing rights to the report at no cost to reputable organizations such the USPA. Part of the survey itself may be questions about how you would like the data to be treated durring future years.

I am taking suggestions from the community as to what kind of questions to ask and not to ask; concerns about privacy; and what it would take to get you to participate.

The purpose of this thread is to ask the following:

- What would be your privacy concerns about participating in this survey.

- What type of questions would you like to know the answers to? Some good suggestions for topics include:

Malfunctions
Currency/Incurrency
Age/Years in sport
Licenses
Confidence in organizations such as USPA
Equipment used
Equipment manufacturer ratings
Camera Jumping
Safety devices, what do you use?
Safety devices, what should be required?
Types of jumps made
Close calls
Opinions about regulations
Dropzone Owner section - What are your policies, prices, etc.

I am going to try to make this as International based as possible, however I'm sure that there will be a US bias to it based on my lack of knowledge of other organizations. Suggestions for how to best accomidate various regions would be great.

A lot of ideas for questions will be based on some of the debates going on in these forums.

The neat thing about this being it's own application; is that the questions asked can be based off of answers to previous questions, for example - if you didn't jump in a certain country; questions regaurding that country will not be asked. If you didn't make a camera jump; questions about your camera gear will not be asked...

Please, submit your comments, questions, concerns, and constructive criticisms.

I will begin the work on this project around mid-october, and how the specification ends up will depend completely on comments received here, on other forums, and by talking with people at the dropzones I visit.

Thanks,
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.realskydiving.com
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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How are you going to get this survey to the people?

And how are you going to convince them that it is worthwhile to fill out a 30 minute to hour and a half survey?

Who are you working for?

--------------------------------------------------
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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How are you going to get this survey to the people?

And how are you going to convince them that it is worthwhile to fill out a 30 minute to hour and a half survey?

Who are you working for?



As of late September, I will be working full time for myself under the business name RealSkydiving. It will be in partnership with Skydive Chicago, which is serving as a pilot implementation for my dropzone management software. The dropzone management software will be my primary focus over the next 12 months.

I'm doing this for the love I've developed for the industry; I'm leaving my comfortable steady paycheck in the corporate world for self employement; and with the exception of increasing RealSkydiving's reputation in the industry as a provider to the community; I have no plans for revenue from this survey.

How am I going to get people to spend the 30-90 minutes filling out the survey? My hope is that the reason that drives me to provide the service, is the same reason why others would take the survey. I feel that the public results would provide a great value to community as a whole.

How will I get the survey to the people? Though a web interface, word of mouth advertisement, and by allowing others that see the same value in it that I do to help make it happen by encouraging people they know to take the survey.

-Matt
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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Heh,

I just had a few people private message me with answers to some questions that I asked.

This thread is not the survey, it's a survey about the survey. The survey itself will be available January 1st 2007 and a web URL to be announced at that time.

Matt
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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I'd be more than happy to take the time to fill out a survey. If it's going to give the sport accurate numbers, or info about close calls etc..

Honestly, take 30 minutes from your thread browsing to do a survey. I'd be glad to help with the survey. I'm willing to give back to what skydiving gives me.

I'm sure MANY people will fill out the survey.

I'll be pleased to see it Matt!

Thanks
"When once you have tasted flight..."

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the real question is how you're going to motivate enough people to spend that sort of time on a survey to give a reasonable diverse sample.

I don't see it.



Well, that's one of the reasons for this thread; I don't know how many others would be interested in something like that, and while I feel that it would be pretty strong, I actually have no idea. I appreciate your feedback.

I don't expect the first year to be nearly as popular as the second. I would be quite satisfied if I had over 150 people take the 2006 survey. While a lot of the statistics may not mean as much with this few people, some meaning would come out of the report. For example - merchant ratings, dropzone ratings, some common malfunctions, etc.

If the report keeps up, and doubles in popularity each year - we could have some really interesting numbers to look at 5 years from now, with 2,400 different opinions.

Perhaps vendors would see the value of the survey, and donate items to be put into a random drawing of participants; so that by participating in the survey you have a chance of winning certain industry prizes. It would be cool if that happened, however even if it doesn't - I'm at least going to give it a shot at making this popular.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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Hey Matt,

I could try and get it posted out to each dropzone in the uk if you are interested in their figures as well.

Will be in chicago in a week, see you then.



Chicago in a week, eh? That didn't take long! I will absolutely accept any assistance in getting notice of the survey out once it's available; I appreciate your support.

Right now - though, what I could use the most is more ideas about what to ask in the survey. As jumpers, what do you want to know about other jumpers, statistically speaking?
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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If the purpose of your survey is to ultimately enforce bans on certain types of gear like the use of cross-braced canopies and/or using an RDS, banning things like swooping or forcing everyone to use an AAD on all jumps, then expect no help from people like myself. I don't need some statistical dweeb telling me what I can and can't do up there in the skies. The rules that were paved in blood need to be followed and respected. But to force people to change their ways because of a stastical survey is just plain crap. Expect no help from this camper if/when you go on your crusade to force the sport to adhere to your ideals. :P


Try not to worry about the things you have no control over

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If the purpose of your survey is to ultimately enforce bans on certain types of gear like the use of cross-braced canopies and/or using an RDS, banning things like swooping or forcing everyone to use an AAD on all jumps, then expect no help from people like myself.



My purpose for this survey has nothing to do with ultimately enforcing anything. In fact, my personal opinion is 100% against enforcing things like an AAD. While I support and encourage the use of devices like this, I don't think any government body should take away the choice; that is something that education should do, not rules.

The ENTIRE idea of a survey is to gather facts and opinions. Some of the questions the survey asks will reflect facts (What equipment do you jump, how many years in the sport, etc.). Some of the questions will represent opinion (Do *you* jump with an AAD?, Do you feel that a dropzone business owner has the right to REQUIRE you to jump with an AAD?, ect.)

My purpose for this survey is to allow people to see numbers that haven't been collected into a single source yet - but *could* be. It is to give a factual representation of the data collected, and allow others to interpret that data on their own.

Don't put words in my mouth, uneducated assumptions are not productive.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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If the purpose of your survey is to ultimately enforce bans on certain types of gear like the use of cross-braced canopies and/or using an RDS, banning things like swooping or forcing everyone to use an AAD on all jumps, then expect no help from people like myself. I don't need some statistical dweeb telling me what I can and can't do up there in the skies. The rules that were paved in blood need to be followed and respected. But to force people to change their ways because of a stastical survey is just plain crap. Expect no help from this camper if/when you go on your crusade to force the sport to adhere to your ideals. :P



I agree there is much more I would need to know about this to be comfortable with it

But you seem to be jumping the gun and your attack at this point is uncalled for. For you that is out of character. At least be willing to adopt a wait and see attitude for now.
:)
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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No way I'd spend 1 1/2 hours doing a survey. I have very limited "free" time available, and I'm positive that I'm not the only one that has time crunches.

I'd suggest that the survey be more focused to allow for a shorter time requirement, allow a user to log in multiple times to complete segments of the survey, or do multiple surveys.
Life is short! Break the rules! Forgive quickly! Kiss slowly! Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that made you smile.

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I would take an hour to do a survey if my name went into a draw for a free rig or something. Otherwise, that's a long time to spend just to maybe sometime down the road be able to read some interesting stats. And that's only going to work if you get a very sizeable contribution base, otherwise the results are going to be skewed by fanatics who fill out the survey to make their point on a certain subject.

Chance that you are going to get enough participants taking more than 10 minutes to do a survey to draw reasonable conclusions: not very good I think.

--------------------------------------------------
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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Chance that you are going to get enough participants taking more than 10 minutes to do a survey to draw reasonable conclusions: not very good I think.



You are going to run into this a lot. Remember that you are dealing with skydivers. Most have the attention span of a 3 year old.:)
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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BWAHAHAHAHA. You could never find 30 minutes free... With 7000 some posts. What a fucking joke.

but the multiple log in's idea is cool.
"In one way or the other, I'm a bad brother. Word to the motherf**ker." Eazy-E

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I'm not saying that I wouldn't do it. Actually I and probably most of the posters here on dropzone.com probably would. But even all the people who post regularily on dropzone.com do not make up a great representative sample of all skydivers. It would make a sample sure, but nothing to draw steadfast conclusions from. Besides, you can't get many of the posters here to agree on one thing anyway. ;) Other than the fact that 1-800-Skyride sucks and beer doesn't. :P

BTW, I have the attention span of at least an 8 year old! :ph34r:

--------------------------------------------------
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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BWAHAHAHAHA. You could never find 30 minutes free... With 7000 some posts. What a fucking joke.

but the multiple log in's idea is cool.



And that;s the whole point!!!! The numbers don't lie! The people who interprate them do, however.

Matt, met you at sumerfest, good luck with your new endeavors! I think I told you, but we were both drunk, what you're doing takes balls as big as church bells! I'm a little jealous, but not enough to join you ;)

Some thoughts on the survey:

To the people bitching about time or wanting something for their 1/2 hour; What if it provides data that helps manufacturers make the sport safer? Is that payment enough?

It would be nice if you could someway ensure that the data wasn't tainted by people filling it out multiple times, not sure what their motive might be, but I'm sure I could think of one once I saw the quetions.

I'd like to see detailed info on causes of mals, and injuries and those details correlated to jump numbers, currency, jumps on current gear config (ie - did they recently change something?)

Much of what you have listed is already asked by USPA. Get more creative, and try to find the statistical trends they are currently missing.

Maybe you already planning on asking that kind of stuff.

Good luck!

Methane Freefly - got stink?

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[replyIt would be nice if you could someway ensure that the data wasn't tainted by people filling it out multiple times, not sure what their motive might be, but I'm sure I could think of one once I saw the quetions.



People who want to make RSL's or AAD's mandatory.

--------------------------------------------------
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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I think you have a good idea there, and if done properly could be a useful tool to most everyone involved with the sport / industry.

I'm sure you could even make enough selling the information you gather if it's collated and presented in a thorough, logical fashion....to at least cover the costs.

You asked for some thoughts:

30-90 minutes is way to long to ask someone to give their undivided attention. The longer it takes to do the survey, the 'less' accurate the responses are.
( there are studies that bear this out )

People tend to 'rush' along to get it done...for that reason the most accurate type of survey is often one aimed at the 'lowest' common denominator of your 'test' group. I'm not saying dumb it down, but rather design it to be easy and fast to take.

I'm guessing you're a IT guy, so designing a some what interactive survey shouldn't be a big problem.

I would start with a 'general' identifier page of questions to get the basic demographic and segment of the sport 'that' person has the most interest and knowledge in.

You don't want to even 'offer' questions like 'Tandem RSL placement' to a person with 25 jumps...so the initial responses would automatically redirect an individual to a branch of the survey that is more in their realm of personal experience.

...If you're a 'PRO Rated' 'Master Rigger' with a 'Coach Rating', you would be answering questions from "section C, G, T & Z" of the overall survey package. If you are an "A" license holder that makes 40 jumps a year you would be directed to "section E, J & M" ....if you see what I'm getting at.

That would make for an easier and fast to take survey and the information would almost collate itself for you.

Surveys need to to as simply worded as possible so there is less of a chance of the subject misinterpreting the question. You should also 'supply' a series of answers to choose from...if you ask the subject to 'fill in the blank', their answers are now more subject to misinterpretation by you.

Accuracy is the goal.

I would keep the outline of the survey clean and simple, 20 questions per specific topic, one topic to a page...again you won't 'overwhelm' the subject as you might if they were to view say 500 questions that need to be gone through.

The actual 'branches' that go out from the initial identifier page could be nearly infinite...
Say for example the subject checks the box saying they plan to buy a new rig this year.
That answer eventually takes them to the section that queries 'what' it is they are looking for in a system and 'why'. What is the main concern in their choice...price, availability, peer usage, delivery time, looks,...etc.

You have a great idea here, and again a very useful tool if done right. You have some time before you want to get the 'real' survey started...why not make up a quick 'survey of a survey' program to get the information you're looking for with this post.

You know...what questions do you think a survey of the sport should address...A, B,C or D.



As to the 'actual survey itself...It's gotta be a balancing act. Work to get the most usable and accurate info from the largest segment possible.

~100 carefully filled out and concise surveys that take 90 minutes to fill out aren't as useful as 50,000 more generally worded ones that take 3 minutes to finish... Neither of those is what you are after but instead something more in the middle.




I can literally think of HUNDREDS of questions to ask on your survey, but you need to narrow the scope some to an individual subjects 'most and highest' areas of interest and experience...information of type, that would be MOST useful for the overall industry.

What 'kind' of skydiver are you?
What area of the world do you make 90% of your jumps?
Belly or freeflier?
Swooper or 'fun' accuracy jumper?
Current or past Instructor?
Type of gear?
How often do you replace / change gear.
Type of dropzone?
Most preferable aircraft type?

On and on...again, it's a balance...what will give you the most accurate answers from the most people...something relativity quick and easy to not only take but also analyze.




Any help...or did I just put more static into your idea?










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Just kinda a random thought, throwing it out there:
#AAD fires
RSL/Skyhooks that functioned correctly

just like to see that the safety equipment is workin!

Clear skies
So there I was...

Making friends and playing nice since 1983

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It will be administered online using a custom web application.



All of the smarts should be on the server sides. In other words, it must work with everything - Firefox, Safari, Lynx - legacy browsers too.

99% of the fields should be optional. You may want to have a page that comes up that says "hey, you didn't fill in fields X, Y, and Z; you don't _have_ to fill those in but if you wanted to, now's the time." People can then either fill those in or just go on to the next page.

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What would be your privacy concerns about participating in this survey.



If it asks for an email address, I just assume I'm going to get spammed. You'll be amazed at how many jumpers have the email address uce@ftc.gov , I think. :) If the URL ends in "exe", "asp", or "aspx", I _know_ the data is not secure. If it ends in "cgi" or "php", it's _probably_ not secure. Other URLs are on a case-by-case basis.

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Currency/Incurrency
Age/Years in sport



This is kind of hard to capture, but you might try to see if people have had layoffs of over a certain duration or not. It seems to be somewhat common that somebody gets started jumping, then stops for a while due to spouse/kids/money/whatever, then starts up again. Or, they are a static line military jumper, get out of the military, and don't take up sport skydiving until a few years later.

Along those lines, you might ask if people have had military, sport, or both kinds of training.

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Licenses



Need to include "organization" as well. You might consider having more than one; for instance it's apparently fairly common for Canadian jumpers to have both CSPA and USPA licenses.

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Safety devices, what should be required?



As you can see, you hit a nerve with this one and you haven't even started the survey yet. IMHO, leave this one off the survey if you don't want to throw off the rest of the answers.

Quote

Suggestions for how to best accomidate various regions would be great.



Some things are simple; asking for a postal code and only accepting 00000-99999 is one of the more obvious silly moves. For the less-obvious things, you might look at the sites of the various national skydiving organizations; I know USPA asks a couple of survey questions on their renewal application and other organizations might have online renewal applications with their survey questions. Also, the "how to get started" material usually found on such sites might clue you in to differences in basic training.

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The neat thing about this being it's own application; is that the questions asked can be based off of answers to previous questions, [....]



You might include a counter at the bottom of each page: "about 10 questions left to go" or whatever. This goes along with the feedback you've been getting that 30 minutes is too long for people to spend on the survey.

I also like the idea of letting people do a little at a time, but then you need some kind of login/password which will inevitably confuse some users.

Unless you have a paper version of the survey, you're also going to get some selection bias. Ferinstance, this is what USPA published in their 2005 membership survey for members' ages:

Quote

0-29 ­ 19%
30-39 ­ 30%
40-49 ­ 26%
50-59 ­ 16%
60+ - 6%
Not reported - 4%



From that, I'd say that you're only _guaranteed_ that about 19% of the population (0-29) has the ability to fill out a Web-based survey. The chances are fairly good that an additional 30% (30-39) and maybe another 13% (half of 40-49) can do it. Over that your chances are low. Now, I know that everyone will quickly object to this and say that their 89-year-old grandma has a MySpace site and a webcam. But I think it's true, in general, that the older jumpers might not be up to speed on the Intarweb yet.

A related but lesser effect is that some people will happliy fill out a paper survey (and stick it in a Business Reply Mail envelope or SASE or equal) but will clam up if asked to type things into a computer - even if they know how to run a computer already. The paper is less threatening, because it is going to be read by a human, but they _know_ that whatever they type into the computer is going to instantly be transmitted to the FBI, the USPA, the FAA, the police, the health department, and the dog catcher.

The head-shrinker types have done a good bit of research into "how to do a survey"; some time in the library might be beneficial.

I hope this helps!

Eule

(edit: speeling misteak)
PLF does not stand for Please Land on Face.

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BWAHAHAHAHA. You could never find 30 minutes free... With 7000 some posts. What a fucking joke.

but the multiple log in's idea is cool.



I've been on this site for a long time, young one. I, also, at one point was unemployed and not going to school full-time and could spend time on the boards. Do not make assumptions about what you have no knowledge of.

Now...back on track...
Life is short! Break the rules! Forgive quickly! Kiss slowly! Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that made you smile.

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I want to thank everyone for the responses I've received so far, both posts on the forums and private messages. I've heard a lot of good ideas that I plan to put to use. I'll spend some time later this week sumarizing them.

-Matt
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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