MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

The Society of Homeopaths (SoH) is the professional organisation of UK lay homeopaths (those with no medical training). The SoH has recently published a membership survey. Here are some of its findings:

  • 89% of all respondents are female,
  • 70% are between the ages of 35 and 64.
  • 91% of respondents are currently in practice.
  • 87% are RSHoms.
  • The majority has been in practice for an average of 11 – 15 years.
  • 64% identified their main place of work as their home.
  • 51% work within a multidisciplinary clinic.
  • 43% work in a beauty clinic.
  • 85% offer either telephone or video call consultations.
  • Just under 50% see 5 or fewer patients each week.
  • 38% are satisfied with the number of patients they are seeing.
  • 80% felt confident or very confident about their future.
  • 65% feel supported by the SoH.

What can we conclude from these data?

Nothing!

Why?

Because this truly homeopathic survey is based on exactly 132 responses which equates to 14% of all SoH members.

If, however, we were able to conclude anything at all, it would be that the amateur researchers at the SoH cause Hahnemann to turn in his grave. Offering telephone/video consultations and working in a beauty salon would probably have annoyed the old man. But what would have definitely made him jump with fury in his Paris grave is a stupid survey like this one.

10 Responses to A truly homeopathic survey

  • I dont understand your objection. Pew Research which does election polling for large populations, on their website says “For example, the sampling error for a typical Pew Research Center national survey of 1,500 completed interviews is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points with a 95% confidence interval. This means that in 95 out of every 100 samples of the same size and type, the results we obtain would vary by no more than plus or minus 2.9 percentage points from the result we would get if we could interview every member of the population. ” A sample size of 1,500 doesnt begin to approach 13% of the population for most election districts. Is it because anything that a homeopathic organization does must be bogus in your opinion?

    • 1) the absolute sample size must be large enough
      2) the election poll sample is carefully chosen to be representative of the population
      in the homeopathic neither of these conditions were met and those who did respond must be assumed to differ from those who did not.

    • There are statistical tools for analysing samples taken from a population (essentially this is what much of statistics is about). However, certain assumptions about the population and the sample have to be true in order to draw a meaningful conclusion, such as the distribution of data and the representativeness of a sample.

      Responders to a survey are a self-selected group which may not be representative of the population as a whole. It is therefore very important to ensure that the response rate is as high as possible, as otherwise bias creeps in very quickly. A 14% response rate is generally not considered very useful at all.

      Interviewing 14% of a population is not the same as getting a response from 14% of a population surveyed.

  • Hahnemann died in 1843. How does Edzard know that Hahnemann would probably have been annoyed by video consulations? I can only conclude that Edzard probably has an ouija board and is somehow in contact with Hahnemann who is probably a bit surprised by the contact.
    The SoH probably expected a higher response rate but most members probably don’t give a toss 200c about the survey. They would probably be more interested in Edzard’s probable contact with Hahnemann.
    Maybe Edzards next book will be a channeling of Hahnemann’s next edition of the Organon where he probably says that all the previous editions were bollocks.
    Now that could be the end of Homeopathy.

    • you didn’t know?
      nobody told you yet?
      I am in regular contact with the old man via a medium whoa also does palm reading and energy healing.

      • Judging by the prices charged by some mediums as advised on this blog your contact with Hahnemann must be costing you quite a bit Edzard. Maybe the GTS could collaborate with the homeopaths and organise some crowd funding so that your chats with Hahnemann can continue?

  • Hahnemann is one of the Great Masters. I’ve seen Indian homeopaths garland his picture with flowers and light incense. Anyway, George Vithoulkas is the True Inheritor of Hahnemann.

  • The sample may or may not be representative. It’s impossible to say. Political polling sampling strategies vary but crucially pollsters have information to compare against. Voting figures and demographic data. Having been involved in things like consumer satisfaction measurement, public consultations , etc that people who respond to surveys are a self-selecting sample is well understood, especially if the survey is longer. Incentives such as prize draws can skew samples too.

    The SoH has declining membership. The last figure that is in the public domain is from the Accreditation report produced by the Professional Standards Authority. https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/docs/default-source/accredited-registers/panel-decisions/society-of-homeopaths-annual-review-2018.pdf In September 2018 it had 997 members. Reliable figures only go back as far as 2015 – there were 1136 there. Older figures from the SoH have to be taken with a pinch of salt – prone to exaggeration.

    If the SoH survey is representative, it looks as if a big chunk of members are nearing retirement age.

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