Quick Thoughts on Our First Sampling Run

post by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2024-05-23T00:20:02.050Z · LW · GW · 3 comments

Cross-posted from my NAO Notebook

While the NAO has primarily focused on wastewater, we're now spinning up a swab sampling effort. The idea is to go to busy public places, ask people to swab their noses, pool the swabs, sequence them, and look for novel pathogens. We did our first collection run yesterday:

After months of planning and getting approvals, it was great to be out there! Some thoughts on how it went:

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comment by jimv · 2024-05-23T08:12:22.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quick note of caution on changing the incentive rate downwards. If you might be sampling in times/places where people have previously experienced the higher incentive, this might trigger a loss framing for people. I.e., if you move to the busier time that will eventually be your normal collection time and location, and give the people who are around then the perception that $5 is the normal compensation they'll get, when that drops to $1 they'll maybe be less inclined to contribute their sample than if they'd never seen the $5 option.

Maybe you could moderate that effect by some creative design like the board saying $1 prominently, then appending "special today $5" somehow in a way that clearly communicates it's a special temporary extra.

comment by whestler · 2024-05-23T10:33:36.143Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

From experience doing something similar, you may find you actually get better participation rates if you give away doughnuts or canned drinks or something, for the following reasons:

  • People are more familiar with the idea of a product give-away. 
  • The physical things are visible and draw attention.
  • The reward is more tangible/exciting than straight money (especially if you are considering lower values like $1 or $2.

In terms of benefits to you:

Less paperwork/liability for you than giving cash to strangers, and cheaper, as you've mentioned.

comment by kave · 2024-05-23T01:01:01.423Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorry for slightly off-topic, but curious if NAO has been thinking about/prepping for for HPA1/H5N1 [LW(p) · GW(p)]?