Thursday, October 08, 2009
Return to blogging
A key rule of thumb to keep in mind when using descriptive statistics to make an argument is "no naked numbers." Descriptive statistics alone are largely meaningless. They only take meaning when you have something to compare them to. Occasionally, we establish context by comparing them to the numbers our gut tells are high or low. This can be dangerous. You can end up looking like a real idiot if someone else bothers to actually place your numbers in context.
Additionally, this article really makes you question the validity of what can be published and how easy it is to manipulate information. Mass communication has made information easy to disperse. Studies like these can slip on through without someone questioning their methodology before making a major wave in the public conscience. (Hmm, maybe a project about the fallacies projected by the news medias and how long do individuals hold onto incorrect information). I guess the only solution is to become "smart consumers of statistical information" and to call out individuals who produce incorrect statistical information with political agendas
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