Stat-Spotting A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data

ISBN-10: 0520279980

ISBN-13: 9780520279988

Edition: 2013 (Revised)

Authors: Joel Best
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Description: In this new edition--with revised benchmark statistics, updated resources, and a new section on the rhetorical uses of statistics, complete with new problems to be spotted and new examples to illustrate those problems--Joel Best's best-seller exposes questionable uses of statistics and guides the reader towards becoming a more critical, savvy consumer of news, information, and data.Does a young person commit suicide every thirteen minutes in the United States? Are four million women really battered to death by their husbands or boyfriends each year? Is methamphetamine our number one drug problem today? Alarming statistics bombard our daily lives, appearing in the news, on the Web, seemingly everywhere. But all too often, even the most respected publications present numbers that are miscalculated, misinterpreted, hyped, or simply misleading.Entertaining, informative, and concise, Stat-Spotting takes a commonsense approach to understanding data, and doesn't require advanced math or statistics.

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 9/14/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 158
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.660
Language: English

Joel Best is Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. He has published more than twenty books on social problems and deviance, including Threatened Children , Random Violence , Damned Lies and Statistics , and The Student Loan Mess (with Eric Best.)

Preface to the 2013 Edition
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
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
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