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The Sims Personality Test

The Sims

Fans of the Sims can find out what personality type they are completing a test that poses 44 questions. Individuals who rate their responses to personality questions using a 5-point scale are sorted into one of several virtual personality types including Neat freak, Couch potato or Socialite.

But there's a catch. This information is being collecting for research and the researcher doesn't identify himself or herself.

Sims Test Web site - What's the purpose of the research? Who's behind this? Is it legitimate? Is the test any good? These questions require careful Web site investigation.

The prospect of finding out one's Sims Personality is appealing to Sims fans of all ages. But the fine print includes this consent form:

"By completing this questionnaire, you agree to have your answers recorded for use in research. There are no foreseeable risks to you from participating in this research, the results of which are free. The benefits to you consist of feedback about your personality, which may provide you with greater insight about yourself. Your participation in this research is completely voluntary, and all responses to this survey are anonymous and will be kept confidential. You may refuse to answer any of the questions, and you may withdraw your consent and discontinue participation in this study at any time."

This Web site provides more than just an entertaining self-assessment of personal habits and relationships (e.g., "I am talkative"). Someone is building a population personality profile and wants your information to complete the picture.

This raises the question: who is collecting the information? The person behind the Web site doesn't provide any personal information. Wouldn't it be important to know who is mining your data? What are this person's qualifications? Is this a scientific study based on solid theory or is it mostly made up, in which case the results don't mean much.

It's never a good idea to share information about yourself with a stranger--especially one who doesn't tell you who he or she is.

WSI Tutorials

This investigation requires finding the name of the person responsible for the Web site and then checking that person's qualifications by searching the Internet with his or her name and looking for clues about the test and the research. Use the WSI Tutorials to help you.

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