Statistics can be very helpful in providing interpretation of reality but also can be used to distort our understanding. Discuss some of the ways in which statistics can be used or misused in different Areas of Knowledge to assist and mislead us, and how we can determine whether to accept the statistical evidence that is present to us.
When you turn on the news, what do you hear? 1 in 10 people in South Africa have AIDS , Unemployment Reaches New High of 9.3 Percent , etc. Statistics is supposed to convey information in an objective and comprehendible way to the general population. However, this is usually not the case. Most of the present statistics use objectivity as a veil to hide the personal agendas behind the numbers.
Statistics are comprised of numbers and language, both these could be manipulated in a way to “bend” the truth.
In the mathematical sense, statistics are made from information gathered from a specific sample population that was asked a specific question, and then given an error margin. In order for the statistics to be valid, the sample population and error margins should be stated in the conclusion. Neglecting to mention any of these will cause the statistics to be misleading, for example, according to the U.S Bureau of Censes, the official unemployment rate in the U.S is 6% as of 2003. However, according to journalist Ed Finn, many groups were omitted in these government surveys, “the under-16 group, those on strike or locked out and those who weren’t actively looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey. But by far the largest groups omitted from the list of jobless in the U.S. are the working-age men who are out of work because they are in prison or on parole.” After adding these groups of people, the unemployment rate comes to 11.4%, a major difference caused by concealing the sample in which the statistics was based on.
The objective of this research is to analyze the community based in the U. S. , most of them are Asians in this research we are talking about the Filipinos who are working in U. S. most of them are working there in cheap wages. The population of Filipinos are increasing in US are increasing rapidly. Number of Filipinos are working abroad especially professional ones would rather work abroad than ...
Language is another great factor that can be used to distort our understandings of the numbers given to us. The use of bias language, not only in the conclusion but in the question, which is why revealing the question in the conclusion is crucial. To ask “Do you favor reasonable gun control?” will inevitably have different outcomes from if the question was “Would you favor Senator Shoehorn’s gun registration plan if the cost were $700 million or higher?” The language used in presenting the conclusion also contributes to what kind of understanding the reader gets from the statistics. For example, “a measly 25% of people are against the war in Iraq” compared to “a significant 25% of the population show strong opposition to the war in Iraq” both of them show the same number “25%”, yet their outcome would be dramatically different.
Living in China, I have personally witnessed this problem of knowledge in many officially produced statistics. They often only give the outcome of a survey, without bothering to give any other details such as the question used for survey, the sample population size, the survey methodology, the margin of error, the funding of the survey, or anything that is vital in determining the accuracy of the results of the survey. For example, “Over 50% of Chinese men are impotent” . How can I take this information as true without the population sample used? Am I seriously supposed to believe that 50% of all Chinese, including 18-30 year olds are actually impotent? It does not seem like it when everywhere I go the streets are filled with young Chinese couples.
China For Chinese people what is the advantage of having many children? They provide many hands to work and ensure that the land will be worked when the parents are old. In the early seventies the population of China was a little under a billion. That is why in 1972 the Chinese government decided to implant the 'wan xi sha o'family planning program. This program allowed families to have no more ...
Another statement: “Average lifespan for Chinese intellectuals is 58 years (Beijing IT workers: 53 years, Shanghai journalists: 45 years).” This is both flawed mathematically and linguistically the sample population is too general, no mention of error margin, no survey methodology, no indication of where the funding of this survey came from. What is the definition of an “intellectual”? It could be referring someone that graduated elementary school or at the same time, it could be referring to someone with a PhD, therefore making this survey meaningless.