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Dr. Patrick Wakida should learn to accept feedback

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Added 24th May 2019 02:57 PM

You defended your sample size of 2,000 in a population of 40 million people and you went ahead to say that in America with 300 million people, opinion poll sample size oscillates between 1,300 and 2,400.

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Richard Todwong

You defended your sample size of 2,000 in a population of 40 million people and you went ahead to say that in America with 300 million people, opinion poll sample size oscillates between 1,300 and 2,400.

By Richard Todwong

Dr. Patrick Wakida, you rushed to respond to my article that you quoted in a local daily of May 22.

I can understand from the tone of your reply how irritated you were with my humble critique of your research findings and methods and you went ahead to remind me about Prof. Mahmood Mamdani’s book, Scholars in the Marketplace.

Whereas I agree with you that research methods are taught at undergraduate level in universities, I would equally wish to advise you that it is always good, if your work is subjected to critique. It only helps you and your organisation to improve.

Accepting feedback from consumers of your product is academically acceptable unless you wish that we question your doctorate qualifications.

Once again to make it clearer to you, your intentions could have been good, but your findings are questionable because of the many gaps noted in my earlier article. Allow me remind you on a few areas as repeated in your article.

You defended your sample size of 2,000 in a population of 40 million people and you went ahead to say that in America with 300 million people, opinion poll sample size oscillates between 1,300 and 2,400.

In short, you are saying the 2,000 people interviewed are representative enough on what you sought to find.

You could have even sampled less than 2,000 depending on the subject matter, but my problem is with your method of selecting the 2,000 respondents. Not everything done by America or the Western world is correct my friend.

As a researcher, you should have known better that most opinion polls, especially on political questions are used as a propaganda tool by either the authors or those that seek to benefit. In your case, bearing in mind that you are an FDC party card holder from what I learnt and the fact that DP, UPC, JEEMA and even FDC your party questioned the methods you used and more so your findings in this particular research, makes us doubt even the intentions you had in selecting the 2,000 respondents.

You insinuated in your article that I could be seeking to learn research methods from you because I questioned your work ethics. Dr Wakida, learn to be humble because you might discover that some of the variables you used while analysing your data were wrongly placed. For example, you categorised People Power among political parties and yet we know that it is not.

Secondly, in your objectives both strategic and opinion poll objectives, you sounded broader and wished to cover wider areas on economic situations, governance, elections, and vote intentions and multiparty elections.

Unfortunately, your report did not touch in detail all these objectives and yet you had no under-writing to that effect. You stated that in opinion polls, you do not survey the geography of space, but more the people in that place and you went on to say that the people of Budaka might not give a different response from the people of Kibuku or Butebo or even Pallisa. This is not true.

Are you aware that in every election, we get different results from different constituencies for MPs and President or every within the same districts for councillors. If your assumptions were correct then we would rightly say that all the people in Lango would have voted UPC, all the people in Acholi would have voted FDC and most areas in Buganda should have voted DP.

This generalisation as highlighted in your article is what makes us question your intentions as a person. Your work may be misrepresenting the academic field of research because you seem to have mixed your personal bias in your professional work. In this case, who would be seeking relevance?

To say that you do question my ability to understand basic facts of research methodology is to allude to the assertion that you doubt my credentials. Well, that is subjective and doesn’t merit further response because you appear to be denying your glaring bias that has discredited your findings in my opinion and in the opinions of the other political parties mentioned above. I know that this could have shaken the confidence of the funders of your work.

Data contamination is one of the key safeguards in research. In this case, your data is contaminated hence giving faulty results. Comparatively, in the medical field, contamination of samples is not equally permitted.

The authenticity of a laboratory result starts from collecting samples, the test and finally interpretation of the test results. Yes, the size of the blood collected from a patient depends on the disease the doctor is investigating and no conclusions are drawn until credible laboratory results are produced. In your case, you seemed to have had a pre-set answer and only struggling to justify it using purported survey research. That is not only wrong but also unethical.

RWI, the organisation that you head, I am sure would be much more credible to Ugandans and benefactors, if only you kept your work ethics intact. Don’t use such a good institution as a propaganda tool.

You asked which political parties your purported respondents belong to and you listed NRM, FDC, People Power, UPC, DP, Go Forward, Alliance for National Transformation, JEEMA, PDP. In this category, you again ranked ‘People Power’ among political parties which was wrong because they have never registered as a political party. So a portion of respondents were forced to belong to a non-existent political party.

Your strategic objective, which was to measure public opinions and perceptions on socio-economic and political aspects in Uganda, was not attained because you published only a fraction of what this objective was.

Even within the objectives of the public opinion polls where you sought among other things to gauge people’s views on governance, elections and voting intentions as well as multiparty selection.

Your findings were totally out of touch with the objectives, both strategic objectives and opinion poll objectives as mentioned above. No wonder your methodology appeared wanting. For example; your major data collection technique as highlighted in your methodology was Face to Face interviews with the respondents.

You started on March 12 and ended around March 24, a period of two weeks (14 days). Let’s assume you needed 10 days in the field, three days for data analysis and one day to prepare a report based on your report objectives, (or whatever days you can allocate) any researcher would feel you were in a hurry. This alone could have affected your findings because of the errors that would be way beyond +/-5.

I have no perennial issue with you or your organisation, my fundamental disagreement is the methodology used. It is always professionally and ethically prudent to receive divergent opinions on a matter that is public in nature. This doesn’t come with any bias or ill motives as you may insinuate. However, your response may invite us to question many things including sources and intentions of your findings in addition to credibility issues.

I invite you to read a book by Robert Rowland Smith entitled The Reality Test. You will learn how to better respond to issues that you disagree with. Please correct yourself and do not be insensitive to criticism.

The writer is the Deputy Secretary General of the NRM Party

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