How Not to be Lied to by StatisticsHow Not to be Lied to by Statistics

Bad data are worse than no data. Good data tell a story; it paints a picture. Using numbers means knowing how to organize the data clearly and allowing the numbers to tell the story they have to tell.

Whether evaluating others' data and conclusions or collecting and interpreting original data, decision makers must know how to see the forest and avoid being led astray among the trees.

By the end of this seminar you will have learned:

  • How to recognize when data are misleading or incomplete
  • How to discriminate between coincidence and connection, between randomness and pattern
  • How to read the story the data have to tell and draw the conclusions the data allow

SAMPLE Discussion Question

Give an example of your company’s actual or potential use of data. Please give your post a title the reflects the main idea of your response. Comment on each others’ examples, and explain how you would recommend carrying out the research in order to generate valid data.  

SAMPLE Final Project

Using your own example, from the discussion forum for module two, explain how you would ensure the validity of the data and the decisions made, based on those data. Additionally, how might you have gathered those data on line?

Alternatively, can you give an actual example of how data were gathered on line to address the same research question raised in module two (or a similar question)? In what ways might collecting the data on line have affected their validity and their interpretation?