Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Survey Fun

I seem to get lots of emails from various places on-campus about on-line surveys I can take, typically with the reward being a chance of winning something like a gift certificate useable at various on-campus places.

Today, I took a survey from the Registrar's office that was trying to assess my use of and opinions of various graduate-student oriented services on-campus, including the interactions I've had with my advisor and the department of Integrative Biology.

I've only been here two and a half months, so most of my responses were based on rather limited data, and there was some weird disconnect between some of my answers and other because some questions were specific to my "current program" and others were more broadly based on my "graduate career". So while I pointed out I had been at Guelph for only a short time, I responded to the questions about TAing based on my experiences at SFU. Oh well, I'm sure they'll still find my answers somewhat useful.

One section was a general list of questions about my satisfaction with various interactions I have had with faculty in this department, especially my advisor. These three questions, but especially the middle one, had me laughing:

The first two columns are "Did not occur" and "Not applicable", respectively. The next four columns are the usual choices of "Very Satisfied"; "Somewhat Satisfied"; "Somewhat Dissatisfied"; "Very Dissatisfied". It might be hard to read; the first question is "Recieved advice on research ethics in human subject research", the second is "Recieved advice on research ethics in the use of animals" and the third is "Recieved advice on intellectual property issues".

While my advisor and I have discussed (to great amusement) the ethical considerations of the use of animals in research, we've never really talked about research on humans or intellectual property issues. The funny part comes from those discussions:

"With insects, you don't have to worry about it. You can cut out their gonads, stick their balls in their mouth, and take pictures if you want. Nobody minds."

Which is funny because it's true (Note: I have yet to dissect out reproductive tissues and place them into the oral apetures of any animal). At least, I found it funny.


Carlo said...

Good luck shoving fly gonads into their mouths. I'll want to see the picture of that (considering that ovaries are like ~1/3 the weight of the fly!).

I get these survey emails all the time, and they drive me nuts. I've got a rant about excessive campus email coming in the next few days.

Allison said...

heya stranger!
ruth passed me your blog, looks like we can start keeping tabs on each other via cyberspace.
xo Allison

TheBrummell said...

Hi Allison,

Sounds fun. Your blog is very useful for the rest of us trying to figure out which country you're currently in.

TheBrummell said...

RE: insect balls.

If I ever try this, I'll probably start with something much larger, like Tenebrio or Acheta, rather than Drosophila.

If I do this, there will be many pictures.

Anonymous said...

Just remember, if you conduct the equivalent of war crimes on insects, wear ear plugs; some of their screams are really creepy. Karma and such should also be mentioned, just for the sake of the poor arthropods (and maybe your soul) ;)

TheBrummell said...

The first such hypothetical victims will be humanely euthanized (i.e. killed) before, er, mutilation.

I don't actually plan on doing this, it's just something that's allowed, rather than encouraged.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes bella. It all starts out as theory, but believe me, after a while, you'll be wishing the worst for the little critters that seem to have it out for you and your efforts to get your PhD. When things go badly in our entomology lab, my labmates and I usually think of how satisfying it would be to "Raid" the entire colony of the insect we work on.