Monday, 3 December 2012

IMGAME fieldwork

This semester has seen an impressive amount of IMGAME fieldwork and, as usual, our Local Organisers have proved to be thoroughly excellent. Since the end of October we have run Imitation Games on religion in Cardiff, Trondheim and Helsinki, with a trip to Rotterdam scheduled for the week beginning 10 December.

This is an important period for us in two ways. First, the results will provide a crucial test of the method and the underlying theory. The kinds of comparisons we are going to make (and the hypotheses we are trying to test) can be summarised as follows:

  • Cardiff fieldwork: this is a repeat of the fieldwork we did in March 2012 so the results should be very similar (i.e. it is a kind of test-retest reliability measure). By using the same questions at Step Two but collecting new Pretender answers and then having them judged by new judges we should get a measure of how stable the IR is over time. We have also tried filtering the questions (i.e. selecting the best 50% of question based on how they were interpreted by Step One judges in March) to see if this makes a difference to the IR estimate.
  • Scandinavian fieldwork: the intention is to compare the ability of non-Christians to pretend to be active Christians with the success of non-Christians in Poland and Sicily. We have already recorded IRs of close to zero in the predominantly Catholic countries, so we are now hoping to measure a significant, positive IR in Norway and Finland.
  • Rotterdam fieldwork: This is broadly similar to the Scandinavian fieldwork and also tests the ability of non-Christians in a broadly secular country to pretend to be active Christians. Overall, we expect the IRs in Norway (Trondheim), Finland (Helsinki), Netherlands (Rotterdam) and Wales (Cardiff) to be roughly similar to each other and for there to be a statistically significant difference between these four IRs and those measured in Poland (Wroclaw) and Sicily (Palermo).
If the data supports the hypothesis, then we will have made a big step forward in developing the method.

The second reason this semester's fieldwork is important is that we are using it to test and develop the new software being developed by redweb. This is essential to the long term viability of the method as it will make it much easier for new researchers to run Imitation Games as many of the tasks we now perform manually will be automated. This should make the whole fieldwork experience much quicker and also eliminate some of the inevitable data handling errors that creep in as files are cut and copied and pasted by hand.

We will post provisional results in early 2013, assuming the Judges set their files back to us in time. In the meantime, I must end by, once again, thanking the Local Organisers for their hard work, resourcefulness and generally excellent choice of restaurants!

New Publication

The second Hawk-Eye paper is now available in hard copy. The full reference is:

Collins, H.M. and Evans, R.J. (2012) ‘Sport-Decision Aids and the ‘CSI Effect’: Why cricket uses Hawk-Eye well and tennis uses it badly’, Public Understanding of Science, Vol. 21, No. 8 (November 2012), pp. 904 – 921.

It was first published via Online First on July 29, 2011 as doi: 10.1177/0963662511407991.