Margaret Peregrine is a high school sophomore. Most of the time, she's either at school, at the school robotics club, at the school chess club, or doing schoolwork. Today, she's cleaning out her late great-grandmother's attic.
You've been running into issues with information handling, right? It'd be the mother of all information handling problems.
It really would. I guess the alternative is trying to develop my own incantations to do the same things directly, which is also hugely complicated but which I at least know somebody accomplished at some point.
When it's been a few days since her first survey, she emails everyone who hasn't responded yet, asking them to please fill out the survey to help science and future sick people, and reminding them that of course they can skip any particular questions they'd rather not answer.
Ugh, if the rest had just replied with "I don't want to", she could have gone to the Council and said she couldn't compel anyone to talk. But no, they had to ignore her completely. Do all the non-responders live in the Avalon, and does it publish a phone book?
The ones who don't, are they perhaps in the regular phone book? Not that this is going to help if somebody gave her a fake name, but who would do that?
She calls the first one on the list, fully expecting "go away" but wanting to put in a level of effort the Council will accept. If anybody picks up: "Hello, this is Margaret Peregrine, can I speak to [name]?"
"Followup questionnaire for a research study he participated in, I need everyone to either answer a few questions or tell me they refuse. Can you ask him to call me back?" She gives her number.
"Thank you! Remember, even if he doesn't want to answer the questions he needs to let me know so I can take him off the list."
She starts working her way through the rest of the names.
The former get "Thank you very much!" and the latter gets "My apologies, I won't contact you again." Now, what response percentage is she looking at, if you count partial responses and clear expressions of non-consent as responding?
Hmm. That might be enough for the Council, but she has one more tactic to try first. She calls Dr. James the next time her office is open.
"Hello, it's Margaret Peregrine again, with the research? I hope this is an okay time. I'm looking for help finding people's addresses so I can ask them the Council's follow-up questions. How do people in the Avalon find each other?"
"Hmmm, and I don't want to go asking around for people by name, because of patient confidentiality. If you had someone's name and email and needed to find them, would you have any better ideas than 'walking around the Avalon until you ran into them'? Are there events lots of people go to?"
"Because you've been helpful before. Thanks, I won't take up any more of your time."
She also remembers some of the Avalon-dwelling patients had wanted house calls. She goes through her email archives to see if any of the non-responders already gave her their addresses.
A-ha! The next evening she will go to the Avalon and knock on doors like an annoying proselytizer. But for science! And healing! And jumping through bureaucratic hoops, but whatever, finding out if anybody had side effects really is important.