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November 1, 2005

Chapter 8 and 9 in It Ain't Necessarily So

Chapter 8
Chapter 8 discusses that often times when a startling statistic involves an increase in crime, rape, gun violence, AIDS, etc. it may simply be the increase is not showing a greater occurrence, but instead it shows an increase in reporting. A specific example is with rape cases. In the past and probably presently, sometimes victims of rape do not report the rape because they are embarrassed or they may feel at fault. Due to this the number of actual rapes is probably much higher than reported ones. Presently surveys are trying to make more people come forward when they have been raped, so current statistics may show an increase of rape, but it may just be an increase in reporting rapes.

A few weeks ago we discussed this in class. Just because more people are being diagnosed with AIDS, does not mean that AIDS is rapidly increasing. It may be that due to medical advances people are living longer with AIDS. Also more people may be seeking treatment for AIDS than in the past.

Chapter 9
Chapter 9 stresses that how a study is conducted is more important than who conducts it. The chapter discusses certain studies that have been criticized because someone taking part in the planning or funding of the experiment had a bias, which may conflict with the experiment. One example was a study that reported women who have abortions have a greater chance of getting Breast Cancer. One of the people who conducted the study was pro-life, so this person thought abortion was wrong. Did this affect the results of the study? Personally I do not see a problem. There was also a person who was pro-choice. If the study is done correctly the results come from the subjects studied and not from the people conducting the study.

The chapter places greater importance on how the study was done instead of whom it was done by. Poor methodology creates biased and unreliable studies.

Posted by JennaOBrocto at November 1, 2005 8:21 PM


I'll never look at surveys the same way again. So does this mean that four out of five dentists really don't recommend my toothpaste? I feel so used.

Posted by: Michael Dell at November 4, 2005 3:18 AM

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