Data Power

Communications and data provide us with a valuable tool.  How to leverage facts and put them forward in a way that drives a response.  For some that is getting people to buy a magazine (e.g., 82% of Americans do X…read the article on pg X to learn more).  For others, it is to drive them to buy a product or to prove a claim. The power of statistics is magnified when you have someone who understands how to present information.

I have talked about some aspects of this before around Dark Data, Understanding Healthcare by Wurman, and a little in my entry around COB.

That being said, I found it interesting to read a blog post on Bad Science about “How To Lie With Statistics” which is apparently the best sold statistics book ever (and not even written by a statistician).   Here are a few examples.  Again, it just makes the point that you need to ask questions and understand how a metric is defined, who the survey population was, whether there was a bias, etc.  The data may still be very useful, but you need to understand it before you use it.

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