The article “Damned lies and statistics” by Joel Best analyzed the impact and implications of statistical figures on the cultural orientation of the society. The author analyzed various factors or statistical accounting and errors. His account dominated the views of statistical errors rather than conflict reporting. The articles analyzed the concept of apple and oranges. 1The author began the chapter with familiar stories that revealed inaccurate statistical analysis. However, the reports revealed that researchers make inappropriate comparisons between dissimilar figures. As a result, researchers ignored relevant statistics to suit their objectives. For example, the causes of death in a state were summarized based on the number of deaths rather than its implication.
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As a result, the researcher was not objective in the report. Consequently, statistical figures compared with time revealed conflicting results. The author argued that statistical figures compared with literatures or data affected the validity of the research topic. As a result, researchers correlate conflicting figures based on personal objectives. For example, cases of child molestation cannot be compared to separate accounts. As a result, the policy changes and child awareness will stimulate public attention in the twenty-first century. However, statistical figures cannot be compared with previous research based on changing measures. The author’s account was more personal than objective. The article failed to absorb accurate figures based on changing measures. As a result, the author narrated one-side of the topic. By, implication the author was bias on researchers with conflicting statistics.
The article “Damned lies and statistics” discussed the topic “Stat Wars: Conflicts over social statistics” in chapter five. The author discussed the implication of using statistical figures for personal objectives and political undertones. Consequently, the article cited examples of the political struggles that estimated the crowd population based on personal objectives. As a result, the project coordinators, team leaders, and researchers estimated the crowd population based on personal reasons. The author revealed that these arguments affect the objectives of the research study. The author argued that statistical figures must be accurate and precise. As a result, results with error and uncertainty are rejected by the public. Consequently, researchers dictate the process and direction of the research to eliminate negative responses. For example, studies on sexual assault by men stimulate public emotion to accept the false negatives. As a result, researchers release conflicting figures based on public emotions.
In chapter six of the article “Damned lies and statistics” by Joel Best, the author explained the effect of human perception on statistical figures. The author revealed that naive people accept statistical numbers based on ignorance and trust. They believe the figures are magical and enhance better understanding. As a result, the difference in figures is not a concern in a research study. The research objective will justify the difference in statistical figures no matter the range. However, the article revealed that cynical people reject statistical figures based on informed opinion. They believe statistical figures can be manipulated to suit personal objectives.
In my opinion, statistical figures improve the validity of a research study. As a result, it is difficult to test the impact of conflicting figures when the topic stimulates public emotions. 2Consequently, some research studies are politically motivated to give false negatives concerning public debate. However, factors that influence statistical conflict include selection bias, insufficient sample size, a selective sample period, scale, scope, lying errors, bad math, and false reporting.
How do we tackle the issues raised in the article “Damned lies and statistics?”
We can assemble an effective database with accurate statistical figures to improve research studies. Consequently, public analysis must examine the contents of each research figure to ensure accurate results.
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Best, J., Damned lies and statistics, University of California Press, London, 2001.
Lewis, M., Money ball: the art of wining an unfair game, Norton Press, New York, 2003.
- J. Best, Damned lies and statistics, University of California Press, London, 2001, p. 41.
- M. Lewis, Money ball: the art of wining an unfair game, Norton Press, New York, 2003, p. 120.