Scientific credibility requires reporting the bad news alongside the good.
As a trial run, Canada Post randomly inserted 100 envelopes into post office boxes at the Sechelt post office. The envelopes were considered to be what in Canada is called “bulk mail”; that is, a flyer, or “junk mail”. Considerable thought was given to what sort of labeling would be most likely to cause a person to open the envelope and read it. In the end, we decided to simply write, by hand, the words, “Noise Survey” on each envelope. It was thought that a hand-written label would indicate that a local person was involved, and most people have a propensity to complain about disturbing noises. After waiting one week, I checked the databases and not a single entry came from the Sechelt area. As disappointing as the results are, they reveal some important advice for follow up attempts. I spent some time looking over my methods, and no doubt I need to reach hearers more broadly and effectively.
Then, just when I thought my survey was finished, I received an email from a person connected to the Post Office, who wants to remain anonymous. S/he told me that the Noise Survey created quite a stir in the Post Office, and that two workers associated with that office can hear the Hum. The consensus among them was that the best method of coverage for this purpose, and one that would most likely generate a greater response, would be a letter to the editor in the Coast Reporter newspaper. I had of course considered this initially, but one drawback of this technique is that I won’t be able to infer the proportion of hearers within the local population.
I plan for the letter to appear around the middle of September, and I’ll let you know what happens.