Comment of the Day

Readers: Here's Why Study Calling DU, Metro Sexist Is Crap

We recently shared information from a study that put DU and Metro State University of Denver on a list of the ten colleges with the most misogynistic tweets.

The analysis was odd for a number of reasons — not the least of which was that the results skewed far differently when the list of search terms excluded the word "bitch."

But a number of readers found more technical reasons to question the results — and their erudite responses speak positively about the quality of the education they received at the institutions in question.

Here are two examples.

Michelle Ess writes:
A lot of problems with this study that media (such as yourself) is not taking into account, & reporting as fact. A website conducted a study and posted it online without peer review and with a questionable operational definition, essentially implying tweets within 3 miles of a campus came from the campus. That is a huge area; the entirety of downtown is within 3 miles of Metro.
Nathan-Luke Anderson writes:
I definitely have a problem with the data analysis here. First, there is no control for location, so the data can be skewed dramatically by the metro area surrounding it.

Second, if you actually analyze the rate at which these tweets are made, there are a couple of outliers, and an extremely long left tail distribution, which means that the difference between the mean of the dataset and the middle quartile range have a very low standard deviation, which in turn means there's likely no statistically significant correlation between the data when controlling for outliers.

Finally the outliers here, namely Clemson and Yale, are significantly above most of the rest of the data, which leads me to believe that one of the trigger keywords is affecting the data — for example, "bimbo" could be an endearing term for the school's mascot or something like that.

Overall, my DU education tells me this is a very, very poorly structured study.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts