Stat-spotting : a field guide to identifying dubious data / Joel Best.

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Best, Joel
Published: Berkeley : University Of California Press, [2013], ©2013.
Edition:Updated and expanded.
Physical Description:xii, 146 pages ; 21 cm
Format: Book
  • Getting started
  • Spotting questionable numbers
  • Background. Statistical benchmarks. Severity and frequency
  • Varieties of dubious data
  • Blunders. The slippery decimal point. Botched translations. Misleading graphs. Careless calculations
  • Sources: who counted--and why? Big round numbers. Hyperbole. Shocking claims. Naming the problem
  • Definitions: what did they count? Broad definitions. Expanding definitions. Changing definitions. The uncounted
  • Measurements: how did they count? Creating measures. Odd units of analysis. Loaded questions. Raising the bar. Technical measures
  • Packaging: what are they telling us? Impressive formats. Misleading samples. Convenient time frames. Peculiar percentages, Selective comparisons. Statistical milestones. Averages. Epidemics. Correlations. Discoveries
  • Rhetoric: what do they want us to think? Using short-term turnover to measure long-term problems. Sudden turns for the worse. Designating myths. Rhetorical flourishes
  • Debates: what if they disagree? Causality debates. Equality debates. Policy debates
  • Stat-spotting on your own. Summary: common signs of dubious data. Better data: some characteristics. Afterword: if you had no idea things were that bad, they probably aren't. Suggestions for those who want to continue stat-spotting.