This week we moved forward on all fronts, and touched base with our partners twice. On Sunday, we took stock of where we were with both Charisse and Adina and discussed what we had to do to move forward. Charisse had handed to us some 70 surveys filled out by unions she had contacted, so we entered those during our meeting as well. On Wednesday, we connected with Adina about beginning to analyze the data — more on that in a moment — and we continued to enter surveys, these collected by some San Jose State students, when Adina delivered them to us late in the week. Adina sent along another case study for us to include in our lit review, and we’ve of course begun to dive into crafting our final deliverables.
When we spoke with Adina on Wednesday, Arnaud and Marty had already begun to sift through our data — which at that point comprised some 150 survey responses — and searching for correlations, especially with respect to cost. To what extent were respondents flagging affordability as an issue? What proportion of respondents cited cost differences between transit riders and those who don’t use transit? How did the income levels of transit riders and non-transit riders compare? These were the basic kinds of questions we had started to address on our own, but Adina, who has a background in this kind of data analysis, was fantastic in both systematically extending the lines of inquiry we already had and showing us where those should go and comprehensively filling in the holes to suggest questions we hadn’t already pursued.
Moving forward, we’re excited to continue our data analysis, using all of Adina’s input, and see in its fullest form the story that the data tell us. We can already see that we won’t be reaching many authoritative conclusions, if any, on clear policy steps forward, but rather, most of our recommendations instead will be indicating areas of further study based on anomalies and patterns we find in our data set. It sounds like a group of San Jose State masters students and the organizations we work with are very interested in continuing this research, so our group can do much to shape their work by steering it in the best and most useful directions. We will also be conveying our methodological shortcomings — we’ve already identified a couple — so that future work doesn’t repeat our mistakes. We’re eager to keep playing with the data and to see what it reveals — and look forward to sharing those findings with the class and our partners next week!