Thursday, February 28, 2013

Women work harder than men OR there is no "p" in "3M"

In one of those weird "stalking bad data" moments today, I found this Jezebel article that claimed that women worked harder than men.  The Jezebel article linked to a Forbes article about a study from 3M, but there was no link.  Finally, someone in the comments section actually found the study and I got to take a look.

Now the whole reason I wanted to track this down was because the claim that "women work harder than men" appeared to be based on the difference of a few seconds over the course of 10 minutes (2.5 minutes for women vs 2.1 minutes for men).  Of course I wanted to see a p value here....they do know that's how we assess if the difference of 24 seconds actually means something right?  

Alas, no.  No p value.  Just a one time 10 minute trial of who logged more keystrokes when a researcher was sitting nearby.  

Also according to the study, people under 35 work harder than those over 35, and supervisors work harder than non-supervisors.  What's weird is apparently the only metric used to assess "work" was keystrokes, and it doesn't appear anyone group spent more than an average 5 minutes out of 10 working, even with a researcher standing over their shoulder.  

Alright, I know this whole study is one big advertisement for their privacy software, but they couldn't even give us a p value for how much better everyone did with their software?  Why even use statistics if you're not going to at least pretend to be rigorous?  

Must have been a man who put this together.  Everyone knows they don't do much.*

*If you presume an 8 hour work day, and assume equal productivity across the day, the men in this office work 101 minutes to the women's 120 minutes.  How the heck to I get a job where I only do 2 hours of work per day????


  1. We try not to get bogged down in things we won't get much credit for.

  2. I would have commented from my work computer, but the monitoring program might have confused my typing for actual work being done...

  3. warning - whinging ahead: i get more work done when nobody's around - in my private practice i assess students on saturday & sunday - b/c all the loud teacher-y ladies & all the loud students are gone! my office is in a non-profit learning center - full of amazing & committed teachers who verbalize frequently. i'm the only male. i get so much more done when i don't have to verbalize 8 minutes out of every hour (10 hour day = 80 mins verbalization:) also, since i work for myself (& have competition) that incentivizes me. which reminds me, thank you for the gov't website - i just wrote letters to our state's education committee which meets tomorrow on relaxing stringent restrictions on charter schools - which as a libertarian i'm all for (incentivize, increase competition, decrease monopoly, decrease gov't school indoctrination) b/c i've seen how that's played out in me - an ex-academic!