Men get excited by Research!

The Brazilian media is less dependent on the constant flow of meaningless PR-driven surveys that seem to swell the pages of the press in other countries. It is however equal to most nations in that the findings of a quantitative survey rarely become the focus of discussion beyond those most immediately involved. How nice it has been this week therefore to follow the reaction to the findings of a piece of research conducted by Gallup on behalf of Editora Ática S/A. Not only have the methods and the validity of the research been queried by media commentators but hundreds of Brazilians, mainly males (we assume not statisticians or researchers) have joined the debate about the theoretical underpinning of the research methodology.

On understanding the subject of the research, the reason for the chatter evident on Orkut pages and beyond is perhaps understandable. The research aimed to discover which Brazilian football team has the most fans. This type of study is actually very common in Brazil, but this particular study billed by Gallup as the “Biggest Research in History” differed in that it aimed to take into account the different nature of fan relationships to clubs amongst the Brazilian public.

Topline findings were as follows:
–    Flamengo remain the most supported team in Brazil as is generally accepted and found in most research studies of this type.
–    Following on the heels of Flamengo come Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Palmeiras and Vasco
–    Teams from the south and south east of Brazil are losing their appeal amongst fans outside of their immediate regions
–    – clubs in the interior of Brazil continue to show the biggest increases in support
–    the number of Brazilians who claim not to support a team is falling to just 10% (though still more than the fanbase of any individual team

Comments from fans on various sites (one example can be found here on Orkut) seem to question the validity of the findings…and not surprisingly in many cases reflecting the supposed fortunes of their teams in the results of the research. There are claims of a hoax. Elsewhere the biggest debate seems to be over the decision to focus on the first team supported by respondents rather than allowing them to state a supporting preference for a number of teams. A common comment was that men would only believe the results, the day they were asked to be a respondent in this type of survey.

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