Category Archives: Chapter 16

Mathematics or “Citizen Statistics”?

Does learning mathematics help to master the statistics necessary to understand the social world we live in? Political scientist Andrew Hacker thinks this is a “math myth” that has led to requirements at the high school level that turns off … Continue reading

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Political Polling: Still Viable?

Polling has captured the news as never before during the current presidential primary season.  But at the same time that polls are more popular than ever before, their reliability is lower than ever.  As you know from Chapter 8 on … Continue reading

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Perception and Measurement about Mental Illness

Does it surprise you to learn that a large longitudinal survey of parents has led to the conclusion that the rate of severe mental illness among children and adolescents has dropped considerably in the last generation?  The study involved ratings … Continue reading

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Paying for the privilege of participating in a medical experiment?

Medical research may identify a potentially valuable treatment that must be tested in a rigorous experiment.  Usually such experiments are funded by federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health, after a careful review, or by the company that has … Continue reading

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Googling as Social Data

The horrific tragedy of the April 2013 marathon bombing in Boston sent many people to the web.  In the four days after the bombing, total searches for news rose 50 to 160%, but total searches for religion dropped slightly.  Overall, … Continue reading

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A Mad Rush to Publish

There’s nothing worse for the progress of science than finding that published results were based on outright fraud or overhyped findings. The editors of a site termed Retraction Watch estimate that an average retraction rate of one scientific paper per … Continue reading

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The rush to celebrate “eureka” moments

Yet another article on the problem of replication.  If a study is designed with research methods that have been implemented appropriately and reported clearly, repeating that study with the same methods, the findings should be similar.  Right?  This has always been a … Continue reading

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