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This title in other editions

Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data

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Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data Cover

ISBN13: 9780520279988
ISBN10: 0520279980
Condition:
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"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

Synopsis:

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.

This new edition contains 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 illustrating those problems. Joel Bests best seller exposes questionable uses of statistics and guides the reader toward becoming a more critical, savvy consumer of news, information, and data.

Entertaining, informative, and concise, Stat-Spotting takes a commonsense approach to understanding data and doesn't require advanced math or statistics.

About the Author

Joel Best is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. Among his many books are Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads, More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues, and Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists, all from UC Press.

Table of Contents

PREFACE TO THE 2013 EDITION

PART 1. GETTING STARTED

A. SPOTTING QUESTIONABLE NUMBERS

B. BACKGROUND

B.1 Statistical Benchmarks

B.2 Severity and Frequency

PART 2. VARIETIES OF DUBIOUS DATA

C. BLUNDERS

C.1 The Slippery Decimal Point

C.2 Botched Translations

C.3 Misleading Graphs

C.4 Careless Calculations

D. SOURCES: WHO COUNTED–AND WHY?

D.1 Big Round Numbers

D.2 Hyperbole

D.3 Shocking Claims

D.4 Naming the Problem

E. DEFINITIONS: WHAT DID THEY COUNT?

E.1 Broad Definitions

E.2 Expanding Definitions

E.3 Changing Definitions

E.4 The Uncounted

F. MEASUREMENTS: HOW DID THEY COUNT?

F.1 Creating Measures

F.2 Odd Units of Analysis

F.3 Loaded Questions

F.4 Raising the Bar

F.5 Technical Measures

G. PACKAGING: WHAT ARE THEY TELLING US?

G.1 Impressive Formats

G.2 Misleading Samples

G.3 Convenient Time Frames

G.4 Peculiar Percentages

G.5 Selective Comparisons

G.6 Statistical Milestones

G.7 Averages

G.8 Epidemics

G.9 Correlations

G.10 Discoveries

H. RHETORIC: WHAT DO THEY WANT US TO THINK?

H.1 Using Short-Term Turnover to Measure Long-Term Problems

H.2 Sudden Turns for the Worse

H.3 Designating Myths

H.4 Rhetorical Flourishes

I. DEBATES: WHAT IF THEY DISAGREE?

I.1 Causality Debates

I.2 Equality Debates

I.3 Policy Debates

PART 3. STAT-SPOTTING ON YOUR OWN

J. SUMMARY: COMMON SIGNS OF DUBIOUS DATA

K. BETTER DATA: SOME CHARACTERISTICS

L.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

DANE, May 7, 2015 (view all comments by DANE)
This short n'easy read is an excellent introduction to understanding the statistics we're bombarded with every day. It's only 100 pages and you'll get through it in a sitting or two so if stats send you running for the door, don't be afraid. It's actually full of extremely important tips to keep in mind whenever you're faced with any sort of statistical reporting in the media. Topics covered include: Sources - Who Counted and Why? ... Definitions - What Did They Count? ... Measurements - How Did They Count? These all seem pretty basic but the examples he gives really drive home the point that we should never take these numbers at face value.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520279988
Author:
Best, Joel
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
Demography
Subject:
Sociology - General
Edition Description:
First Edition, Updated and Expanded
Publication Date:
20130931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
158
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.75 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » Statistics
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Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data New Trade Paper
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Product details 158 pages University of California Press - English 9780520279988 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

This new edition contains 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 illustrating those problems. Joel Bests best seller exposes questionable uses of statistics and guides the reader toward becoming a more critical, savvy consumer of news, information, and data.

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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