Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data (Paperback)
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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 Best’s 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.
"An excellent book . . . Stat-Spotting is a useful, engaging, and easy to read text that if successfully integrated would be a great adition to statistics and/or research methods course."
— Teaching Sociology
“The author’s skillful analyses and explanations presented in clear and concise prose make Stat-Spotting an ideal guide for anyone who reads a newspaper, watches television, or surfs the Web. In short, everyone.”
“Offers an eye-opening field guide to identifying problematic data and concludes by calling for better statistics.”
— Nacada Journal
"An easy read conveying practical tips for assessing so many of the figures that we see in the media or hear in public speeches. It should be appropriate for the lay person and for undergraduates to start them thinking about what statistics mean and how to interpret them. The real life examples in the book are easy to understand, and in most instances are appropriate for the ideas they are meant to illustrate."
— Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie
"Best . . . has written several popular books in the past decade that help nonstatisticians make sense out of everyday statistics. While there is some overlap with his previous books, his latest is arguably the best in terms of concise practical advice for the lay reader."
— American Statistician
"A practical guide on how to recognize questionable statistics, the kind typically thrown around by pundits and cited in news stories, especially during election season.'”
— Publishers Weekly