Since we asked people to share so much personal information, we promised them anonymity. That means all the names of people whose stories we tell here are pseudonyms, as is standard practice in qualitative social science research. To expand our reach beyond just those cities, we created a Modern Romantics subreddit forum on the website Reddit to ask questions and essentially conduct a massive online focus group receiving thousands of responses from around the world. (I want to give huge thanks to everyone who participated in these sessions, as the book would not have been possible without them.) So in the book, when we mention “the subreddit,” this is what we are referring to. We also spent a long time interviewing some incredibly smart people, including eminent sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and journalists who have dedicated their careers to studying modern romance—and who were very generous with their time. Here’s a list that I’m terrified I’m going to leave someone off of: danah boyd of Microsoft; Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University; Stephanie Coontz of Evergreen State College; Pamela Druckerman of the New York Times ; Kumiko Endo of the New School, who also assisted us with our research in Tokyo; Eli Finkel of Northwestern University; Helen Fisher of Rutgers University; Jonathan Haidt of NYU; Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University; Dan Savage; Natasha Schüll of MIT; Barry Schwartz of Swarthmore College; Clay Shirky of NYU; Sherry Turkle of MIT; and Robb Willer of Stanford, who also helped us design some research questions and analyze our data. In addition to these interviews, we got access to some amazing quantitative data that we use
extensively here. For the past five years, Match.com has sponsored the largest survey of American singles around, a nationally representative sample of about five thousand people with questions about all kinds of fascinating behaviors and preferences. Match generously shared it with us, and we, in turn, will share our analysis of it with you. We’ve also benefited from the goodwill of Christian Rudder and OkCupid, which has collected a treasure trove of data on how its users behave. This information has been incredibly useful, because it allows us to distinguish between what people say they want and what people actually do. Another great source of data was Michael Rosenfeld at Stanford University, who shared material from the “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” survey, a nationally representative survey of 4,002 English-literate adults, three quarters of whom had a spouse or romantic partner. Rosenfeld, as well as another researcher, Jonathan Haidt of NYU, gave us permission to use charts that they’d developed in this book. Big thanks to them both.
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- Spring '08