Originally Posted by hyperskeptic
Go a little easy here. A lot of this is on the instructor, and on the OP's program of study.
If the OP is an undergraduate who is not being trained as a social scientist but just taking a one-off elective or even a one-off social science requirement, it's unlikely he's expected to master anything like rigorous empirical methodology (or, for that matter, research ethics protocols).
Fair enough. But I find it difficult to believe that any professor would send kids out on a research project where they're expected to conduct surveys and polls, without giving them at least a basic lesson in proper survey and poll procedures for research.
I still stick to my assumption that the professor's goal here was to get the students looking through published results, not to conduct their own surveys with meaningless conclusions due to faulty research methods...
Anecdotely, I have to say it's interesting to see how far his assumption was blown out of the water. Clearly, the poly community does not
heavily participate in the act of group sex...