Stat-Spotting A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data

ISBN-10: 0520257464

ISBN-13: 9780520257467

Edition: 2008

Authors: Joel Best

List price: $85.00
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Are four million women really battered to death by their husbands or boyfriends each year? Does a young person commit suicide every thirteen minutes in the United States? 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. Following on the heels of his highly acclaimedDamned Lies and StatisticsandMore Damned Lies and Statistics,Joel Best now offers this practical field guide to help everyone identify questionable statistics. Entertaining, informative, and concise,Stat-Spottingis essential reading for people who want to be more savvy and critical consumers of news and information. Stat-Spottingfeatures: * Pertinent examples from today's news, including the number of deaths reported in Iraq, the threat of secondhand smoke, the increase in the number of overweight Americans, and many more * A commonsense approach that doesn't require advanced math or statistics
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Book details

List price: $85.00
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/20/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 144
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.770
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.)

Getting Started
Spotting Questionable Numbers
Background B
Statistical Benchmarks B
Severity and Frequency
Varieties Of Dubious Data C. Blunders C
The Slippery Decimal Point C
Botched Translations C
Misleading Graphs C
Careless Calculations D. Sources: Who Counted-and Why? D
Big, Round Numbers D
Hyperbole D
Shocking Claims D
Naming the Problem E. Definitions: What Did They Count? E
Broad Definitions E
Expanding Definitions E
Changing Definitions E
The Uncounted F. Measurements: How Did They Count? F
Creating Measures F
Odd Units of Analysis F
Loaded Questions F
Raising the Bar F
Technical Measures G. Packaging: What Are They Telling Us? G
Impressive Formats G
Misleading Samples G
Convenient Time Frames G
Peculiar Percentages G
Selective Comparisons G
Statistical Milestones G
Averages G
Epidemics G
Correlations G
Discoveries H. Debates: What If They Disagree? H
Causality Debates H
Equality Debates H
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
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