Summary Of Damned Lies And Statistics

analytical Essay
1476 words
1476 words

What are Damned Lies and Statistics? Joel Best’s Damned Lies and Statistics is a book all about recognizing statistics that are legitimate and others that are really quite horrible. The goal of this book is not that the average every day person be able to read a statistical table from a scholarly journal, but rather that anyone could personally value a statistic he or she may come across in a newspaper article or on a news program. Best was essentially effective in achieving his goal; however, he was effective to the point of overdoing his job of showing that there are bad statistics which give readers cause to evaluate them outside of hearing them on the news. Best begins his book by discussing the importance of social statistics. He notes …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the book crammed examples into a short number of pages. samples are discussed in detail, and representativeness is important, not just size.
  • Analyzes how best framed things differently, such as "causes of bad statistics" or "mutant statistics," but it all came back to human selfishness and wanting to present numbers advantageous to a person's opinions.
  • Explains that joel best's damned lies and statistics is a book about recognizing statistics that are legitimate and others that is really quite horrible.
  • Opines that best could have written a journal article, newspaper article or paper if he had stuck to his original intent, which was to convince readers to be aware of bad statistics.
  • Concludes that this book can be valued by people majoring in political science. it provides a look at exactly what biases there are in the field we are hoping to enter.

Comparisons over time may be inaccurate due to changing measures, unchanging measures, or projections. Comparisons among places can go wrong not only in different countries, but in rural and urban areas as well. Making comparisons among groups can also be comparing apples and oranges, as people with different socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or religion cannot be compared as simply as desired. Even social problems cannot be compared to each other, because no two are the same and sometimes aren’t even similar. “Stat Wars” is the title of Chapter 5, and it describes the process of conflicts over such social statistics. There are debates over particular numbers, data collection, and statistics and hot-button issues. Knowing the causes of bad statistics outlined in Chapter Two will help readers in such stat wars. The final chapter of this book encourages people to be critical when taking in statistics. Someone taking a critical approach to statistics tries assessing statistics by asking questions and researching the origins of a statistic when that information is not provided. The book ends by encouraging readers to know the limitations of statistics and understand how statistics are …show more content…

For social sciences majors, reading this book can provide a look at exactly what biases there are in the field we are hoping to enter, and what mistakes are commonly made. It provides a long list of examples of ways in which numbers can be messed up, and is a good warning to those of us wanting to be social scientists. I was able to take from it the knowledge of how to be critical of statistics that I see and I think that it has complimented what I have learned in some of my Political Science classes, including this one. Even though I am not exactly the audience member Best was trying to reach, he was at least successful in showing me what I have learned by just being a part of the social sciences, that sources of statistics and facts are biased and that it takes effort to be an informed member of this society. This is a useful thing to know, and hopefully around all of the examples and repetition, readers of all types can come to this

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