- Save 10% on selected children’s books, compliments of Amazon Family Promotion exclusive for Prime members .
Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data Paperback – 25 Oct 2013
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
"An ideal guide for anyone who reads a newspaper, watches television, or surfs the Web. In short, everyone."--Joe Swingle"Numeracy" (07/01/2009)
An ideal guide for anyone who reads a newspaper, watches television, or surfs the Web. In short, everyone. --Joe Swingle"Numeracy" (07/01/2009)"
From the Inside Flap
"If you ever scan the newspaper, watch the TV news, or surf the blogs, you should read this charming book. If you're a journalist, read it twice."--James M. Jasper"As we now swim in information, much of it bogus or biased, spotting dubious data is super important. In Stat-Spotting, Joel Best plays off the format of field guides to give readers good, common sense ways not only to sense bad data but to understand what's wrong. Broken up into short independent sections much like field guides to various flora or fauna, the book is easy and enjoyable to read. Easy, enjoyable, and valuable. I will recommend it to my students, and to others, as a resource for critical consumers of numbers."--Bernard Madison, University of Arkansas "The purpose of Stat-Spotting is to help readers become more critical consumers of statistical claims. It is an important work addressing a significant problem in contemporary society: thoughtlessness about numerical claims. Best's work here provides a direct, accessible guide to critical readings of statistics."--Neil Lutsky, Carleton College See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Be on the look out for "fictoids" which the author defines as colorful or erroneous stats used as a hyperbole. Where upon discovery a loud bell should ring in one's head as a reminder to not take literally but instead look deeper. In order to master stat spotting, here are a few simple rules to keep in mind:
1. Having a sense of scale allows you to understand the magnitude and validity of data.
2. The more severe or dramatic the case the more likely it is to be extremely rare.
3. Most people are innumerate or mathematically illiterate and subsequently easily fooled.
4. Keep an eye out for numbers that are surprising large or small.
5. The unit of measure is deceiving, for example using minutes to report a crime rate (% of total population)
6. All stats should be reported in simple language. The language used may change the implication of the data.
7. The graph is a visual representation of the statistic and may be misleading.
8. If the number is too high or too low, it most likely errs on the side of exaggeration and is therefore a guestimate. Think about how it was calculated.
9. Watch for superlatives by their nature they imply comparison.
10. Since every stat implies a definition realize the ever changing nature of definitions, for example "overweight"
11. Methodologies of data collection affect the outcome.
12. The "who" of data collection, that is, who supported the research will most likely affect the outcome.
13. Be aware of "meaningless milestones" which are the underlying trend and its cause.
14. The" law of averages" is very tricky. Therefore the median is a more useful measure particularly in a wide variation of numbers.
The underlying mission of Stat-Spotting is for the reader to become more mathematically astute. The frame of reference for many of the examples in the book is the health care field. As health care professionals are we rapidly accepting statistics as facts? Just a few of the book's statistical concepts that surround the health care profession are:
Epidemics compare old data and new data to draw conclusions but what if the definition of the disease changes?
Correlation does not necessarily prove causality therefore consider what other factors might explain the relationship.
Dramatic discoveries are a cautionary tale since a later study can prove them wrong.
The book has several pages of references to support Joel Best's concrete examples used throughout. There is also a list of helpful websites, blog sites, and suggested supplemental reading. If after reading Stat-Spotting you are still suspicious, then the guide has successfully served its purpose.
And then I'm left wondering if perhaps the book's very brevity might not be part of what makes it so splendind. I have often complained that too many books are mere pamphlets exploded out to book size to make them marketable. I guess if one does not tie value to mass, then even though this book might seem too little of a good thing, it is a remarkable value for what it does contain.
What it contains, chiefly, is a compact description of several particular species of stat problem (and ultimately, sign of a healthy stat) to watch out for, followed by an example of such a stat's use from real life. In this regard, it follows pretty literally its description as a "field guide," and the samples selected are key to what makes this book excellent.
I am not confident that after reading this book I will be as good at teasing out the issues as Best and other statisticians are, but he has tried to give me some tools to recognize some of the more egregious examples of number abuse. As someone who has long struggled with numeracy and come to see just how crucial it is for a rounded understanding of science and politics and other key subjects, I am grateful for the assistance such a guide provides. I think "Spotting" is a terrific book for people who find themselves in a similar position.
This was a great read. Out of a hundred books I have read definitely in the top tier. Highly recommended
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Business, Finance & Law > Economics > Economic Conditions
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Methodology
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Social & Cultural
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Methodology & Research > Statistics & Research
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Sociology > Population & Demography