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As you discovered in the asteroid activity in Lesson 9.1.2, people are not very good at picking representative samples. Similarly, it is actually quite difficult to “fake” randomness.

In this problem, you will perform a brief survey to get an idea of people’s “random” behavior. For this particular survey, you are not concerned with any particular population, so you can choose any sample that is convenient. You should talk with at least people among your friends and family, but try for more to make your results more interesting.

Use the same survey method for everybody: text messaging, phone call, or personal interview. Carefully record the responses you get.

Before you start your survey, decide exactly how you want to word your questions, and write them down, so you can read them the same way to each person you survey.

  1. Why would using a mass email or a social networking site not be a good plan?

  2. Ask each of your respondents to make each of the following choices randomly. Make sure you read the choices exactly the same way to each respondent.

    1. Pick a number between and .

    2. Pick a vowel (a, e, i, o, or u).

    3. Choose a color.

  3. Make a bar graph for the responses to each of the three questions in your survey. Write the precise wording of the question with each bar graph.

  4. Do your results show that people’s choices were truly random? Why or why not?

  5. Try to explain any trends or interesting patterns that you observe. Were the results similar to what you expected? Why or why not?