The Associated Press reported
on December 20, 2006, that a group of Florida investors
are opening a call center in Fargo, North Dakota, to
take wagers on horse racing. The goal is to attract high-stakes
gamblers who currently wager with offshore companies
and illegal bookmakers back to the US and above board.
The call center will take bets on simulcast video horse
racing but will not take walk-in orders.
I am glad to see that call centers can be a road to help
illegal operations become legal...and "I will take
Keeneland, 2nd Race, $7 to Win on Number 6."
essay is a follow-on to the essay titled "Understanding
Research" in Volume 1, Number 8 - December 22,
2006, issue of In
This essay focuses on the
idea of "sampling" which in simple terms means
that you are collecting data from the right people. For
a report to be able to claim that the findings are representative
of a total industry, like the call center industry, not
only does the sample size need to be large enough for
statistical analysis but also the people from whom the
data was collected need to be representative of the correct
group and industry. In other words, if you are seeking
data on green monkeys, you cannot examine red monkeys
and say "All green monkeys believe this to be true."
To be sure that sampling is conducted correctly, the sample
(a.k.a. the people the data is collected from) needs to
be random. This means that each and every person who is
a call center manager in a population must have had the
same opportunity to answer the question as the next manager.
This does not mean that each manager must answer, but each
must be given the same opportunity to answer the questions.
For good research a person cannot just call up their friends
and colleagues and say "Hey, can you fill this out
for me" and then suggest that the findings from that
research represent the total industry. In reality, such
research can only be said to represent people that are
their friends and colleagues, but not the whole industry.
Many of you may have seen in a history textbook former
President Truman holing up a newspaper with the headline "Dewy
Defeats Truman." This is a perfect example of bad
sampling. What happened was that Dewy was a Republican
and Truman was a Democrat. The survey people used a phone
poll, a new invention back then, for conducting the survey.
The phone survey clearly showed that Dewy was going to
win, so the newspaper published those results. The problem
occurred in that phones were limited to the wealthy back
then. The rich people voted more Republican and thus when
they were called, they answered truthfully. However, the
pollsters did not sample the people without phones, who
made up the majority of the electorate, so the findings
were skewed, incorrect, and quite embarrassing for the
As a good consumer of call center research, ask for not
only the sample size, but if the sample was random for
all groups examined. If so, the research is more representative
of the industry than research that does not and more likely
to have valid information.
I am Reading
While I was stuck in Sante
Fe, New Mexico, over the winter break due to a blizzard
I was able to finish off a few books including Greg Bear's Darwin's
Children. The book is 488 pages, a page turner,
and a follow-on to Bear's Darwin's Radio. The
book chronicles what happens when the human race begins
to produce offspring that are an evolutionary leap. This
children look different, with various freckled spots,
have keen sense of smell, and behave in different social
patterns. Darwin's Children takes off 12 years
after the first set of these children are born (Darwin's
Radio) in the millions and walks the reader through
various scenarios and responses to these children within
the United States. Some of the key elements addressed
include the impact to civil liberties and the protecting
of American citizens (read homeland security) from the "virus
children." One response is to put these advanced
children in internment camps similar to that of Americans
of Japanese descent during immediately after Pearl Harbor.
Through the science of DNA, RNA receptors and viruses
as part of the genetic game is speculative, the scenarios
of how we as a species, and particularly how Americans,
would respond to such a change is the value of the book.
Though the book begins with the dark specter of camps,
fear, forceful taking of children from their families,
and medical tests by the end of the book, when 3 years
have past, the fear has reduced and more rational minds
have prevailed, and a dialog and cooperation between
the new species and the old human species is touted as
the best way forward.
As with most science fiction, most authors are writing
about the present but are discussing the events and people
by placing them in a different location or time. The parallels
to World War II, the current war on terrorism, and the
war in Iraq can all be seen in this book at various stages,
making it a think pieces and thus worth the read.
If you want to purchase this book, or the original first
book, the book covers can be found over there ß for
you to click on and it will send you to Amazon.com.
view past issues of In Queue, please click here.
If you would like to contribute to In Queue, please
view instructions in Volume 1, Issue 4, or just click
here to go to the site.
Copyright © 2007
National Association of Call Centers