Rapier Survey of Seemingly Unrelated Questions (RSSUQ) Results Part 1: Demographics

Over the past few months I’ve been running a survey of SCA rapier fighters. As the title suggests, it contains mostly random and seemingly un-related questions.

This survey set out to test a series of ad hoc hypotheses encountered in the rapier community and to answer certain questions. As of this writing I’ve received 391 responses. Thank you all for participating and humoring me. Unfortunately, today is the slightly less interesting demographic analysis. In future weeks I’ll discuss what those hypotheses were and the results of testing them.

None of the results should be considered definitive or even particularly well-collected and well-analyzed. I leave such quality collection to the professionals.

If there are any questions that might be answered by the data that you might have, please let me know and I’ll see what’s available.

 

Gaps in the data collection

In retrospect, I should have captured information regarding age, time in the SCA, and time fencing in the SCA.  The lack will be noted in discussion as we go (frequently. So frequently).

However, in 2012 Aethlemearc conducted a survey of their rapier community which data may or may not be incorporated in the analysis.  (http://www.aerapier.org/survey.html).

As a supplemental data source for the analysis, we have the Society level rapier authorization stats for Q2 2016.


Response Rates

As of this writing I have received a total of 384 responses. Table 1 shows the breakdown by kingdom, what percent of the total each kingdom accounted for (kingdom response/total responses), and what percent of each kingdom’s authorized fighters participated (kingdom response/authorized fighters)

Table 1:

Kingdom Responding Percent of respondents Kingdom Participation Rate Weight
None reported 13 3.39% N/A
Aethelmearc 20 5.21% 7.09% 1.30
An Tir 11 2.86% 2.69% 3.42
Ansteorra 24 6.25% 7.77% 1.18
Artemisia 9 2.34% 8.41% 1.09
Atenveldt 5 1.30% 3.25% 2.83
Atlantia 50 13.02% 20.00% 0.46
Avacal 15 3.91% 11.28% 0.81
Caid 12 3.13% 6.22% 1.48
Calontir 5 1.30% 5.88% 1.56
Drachenwald 4 1.04% 3.23% 2.85
Ealdormere 16 4.17% 20.78% 0.44
East 38 9.90% 9.16% 1.00
Gleann Abhann 10 2.60% 8.70% 1.06
Lochac 8 2.08% 3.81% 2.41
Meridies 36 9.38% 46.15% 0.20
Middle 23 5.99% 4.35% 2.11
Northshield 20 5.21% 7.43% 1.24
Outlands 24 6.25% 17.65% 0.52
Trimaris 32 8.33% 19.39% 0.47
West 9 2.34% 6.43% 1.43
Grand Total 384 100.00% 9.19%

To understate the matter, participation rates varied greatly. Nearly 50% of Meridies (the kingdom of the survey author) participated. This rate was 5 times the Society-wide participation rate. On the other hand, other kingdoms participated at a rate only a third that of the Society-wide rate. In some areas of the analysis I may use that ratio to determine weighted responses. Maybe.

 

Rank

Of the respondents, 48 were Masters of Defense. 93 were White Scarf or an equivalent. On the other end of the spectrum, 133 had received no rapier-related award yet.

Table 2: Award Response Rates

Award Count Rate
2
Baronial/other regional rapier recognition 17 4.43%
Master of Defense 48 12.50%
None, yet. 133 34.64%
Order of high-merit (White Scarf, OGRe, MOB, Bronze Ring, Queen’s Blade, etc) 93 24.22%
Order of Merit (AoA or equivalent) 91 23.70%
Grand Total 384

That is a spectacular amount of participation by our newer fencers, and is greatly appreciated.

 

Rank by Kingdom

More analysis, this time comparing kingdom responses and rank to determine where that newer fencer participation came from, and where the lower ranks were not as represented (Table 3).

Table 3: Rank by Kingdom

Baronial/other regional rapier recognition Master of Defense None, yet. Order of high-merit (White Scarf, OGRe, MOB, Bronze Ring, Queen’s Blade, etc) Order of Merit (AoA or equivalent) Grand Total Percent AoA or less
Aethelmearc 3 5 3 9 20 70.00%
An Tir 1 1 1 7 1 11 27.27%
Ansteorra 1 4 10 6 3 24 58.33%
Artemisia 2 1 4 2 9 55.56%
Atenveldt 1 4 5 0.00%
Atlantia 5 18 11 17 51 68.63%
Avacal 2 9 4 15 86.67%
Caid 2 3 4 3 12 50.00%
Calontir 1 3 1 5 40.00%
Drachenwald 1 1 2 4 75.00%
Ealdormere 1 4 5 5 15 60.00%
East 3 17 6 12 38 76.32%
Gleann Abhann 3 3 2 2 10 50.00%
Lochac 1 4 1 1 1 8 37.50%
Meridies 4 6 10 8 8 36 61.11%
Middle 2 3 7 4 7 23 69.57%
Northshield 4 8 5 3 20 55.00%
Outlands 2 1 8 6 7 24 70.83%
Trimaris 2 3 17 9 1 32 62.50%
West 2 5 1 1 9 66.67%
Grand Total 15 48 129 90 89 371 62.80%

A quick look at this notes that there are a couple of kingdoms, especially in the northwestern portion of the United States, where the data is going to be even less accurately representative of the community. Of course

 

Gender

As shown in Table 4, 110 respondents were female, 384 male, 4 non-binary, and 5 did not disclose.

Table 4: Gender response rate

Gender Count Ratio
5 1.30%
Female 110 28.65%
Male 265 69.01%
Non-binary 4 1.04%
Grand Total 384

Here is a point where having the age and timeframe criteria would be useful:

Aethelmearc’s survey showed their population to be 30.5% female, 69.5% male. The findings (28.9% female, 69% male, 1% non-binary) are in keeping with this finding so it may be that Aethelmearc’s findings can serve as a reasonable approximation of the Society in some matters, especially those around the relative proportion of new male and female participants, differences in the rate of advancement for male and female fighters, and rate of loss of male and female fencers.

The Aethelmearc survey, for its part, found no significant difference in gender tenure until after 7 year mark (34.8-36.2% female for 0-6 years, 20% female after). Whether this drop-off is society wide or a result of sampling number and whether it has continued in the past four years are, I believe, data points that would help our community continue in its development to serve all fencers better.

 

Gender vs. Rank

The Aethelmearc survey seems to also have not calculated the gender vs. rank rates. As noted above, having this information (and the rate of advancement by gender) would be useful knowledge. Table 5 shows the current state of the Society, but only a snapshot that is not on its own definitive.

Table 5 Gender vs. Rank

Female Male Grand Total Percent Female
Master of Defense 5 44 49 10.20%
Order of high-merit (White Scarf, OGRe, MOB, Bronze Ring, Queen’s Blade, etc) 19 77 96 19.79%
Order of Merit (AoA or equivalent) 34 56 90 37.78%
Baronial/other regional rapier recognition 5 12 17 29.41%
None, yet. 48 80 128 37.50%
Grand Total 111 270 381 29.13%

 

As has been discussed in many fora, the proportion of female MODs is much lower than the proportion of female fencers. This topic could, and possibly should, be the topic of its own survey (one conducted in a more serious manner than this).

Thus ends the demographics discussion. Future installments will cover the the actual assumptions challenged, hypotheses tested, and questions… questioned, and what the data revealed.

 

3 comments to Rapier Survey of Seemingly Unrelated Questions (RSSUQ) Results Part 1: Demographics

  • Tibbie Crosier

    Regarding Table 5, are those data on gender and rank just from people who responded to your survey? Would the gender ratios be any different for MoDs if you gathered data on MoDs from the Orders of Precedence for each Kingdom (so as to get the absolute numbers of MoDs, not just those who responded to the survey)?

    (I imagine the ratios will still be roughly the same, but the OPs would include the peers who are not active on social media and might not have seen the survey. For that matter, it might be interesting to see the gender ratios of fencers who post in FB groups versus those who do not.)

    • Wistric

      That is the data just from the respondents. I considered doing a comparison to the list of MODs (maintained on Ask the MODs, though it does not include gender information so guessing would be needed) but decided to stick with the data as collected. The 10% number is in keeping with previous discussions of MOD gender composition (10-15%).

  • Gawin

    Do you have a link to the list of questions that were asked?

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