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November 1, 2005

It Ain't Necessarily So, Ch 8 - Indirect Information: How it Leads to Differences Between Reports & Occurances

"We don't learn directly about the subjects of interest; instead we receive indirect information concerning reports about that subject." (134)


1973 - 861,000 aggravated assaults reported to police by citizens (NCVS)
1973 - 421,000 aggravated assaults reported to the FBI by police

1988 - 940,000 aggravated assaults reported to police by citizens (NCVS)
1988 - 910,000 aggravated assaults reported to the FBI by police

"Jencks concluded that 'the most likely explanation for the increase in robberies and aggravated assaults reported to the FBI, is therefore, that the police are recording more of the violence that citizens report to them.'" (137)

This information shows that there can be discrepancies between what different groups report. This example reminds us that we are receiving information indirectly and so are the people who are reporting it. Think about what that could mean.


"Instead what is mostly at issue is a heightened awareness and sensitivity among child-welfare professionals, who now report more behavior as abusive and neglectful than they would have earlier." (139)

"...the problem is that we won't properly understand the trendline unless we realize that our measuring instrument has been altered..." (142)

Sometimes studies can be inaccurate if not all the different possible causes for the results are examined. If today we consider spanking kids child abuse, but 20 years ago we did not, than we might see an increase in child abuse because all those parents who still spank their children are now being considered abusers. But, 20 years ago, they wouldn't have been.


"Once again, then, we see that reports of a phenomenon can differ from the actual occurrences of it." (141)

This is one reason why we should be aware that the info we get from the media has often gone through a few, if not several sources, and it is never direct because we are not experiencing it. Hopefully, we will see how this is significant during my presentation on Wednesday. =0)

Posted by LorinSchumacher at November 1, 2005 8:31 AM


Excellent presentation today, Lorin. I really liked how you made the activity tie into your subject. :)

You did a nice job of summarizing the key points from the chapters, too.

Posted by: ChrisU at November 2, 2005 5:49 PM

Lorin, great job on your presentation. As Chris said, you had great points and covered them well. During the discussion I liked Katie Lambert's analogy. When she said that her parents took pictures of her in the bath tub, it reminded me of my parents doing the same thing. Then when she said today that could be seen as child pornography, it really emphacized how times are changing.

I thought this example tied in with your example about child abuse. How child abuse was seen as simple discipline 20 years ago, now it has totally changed. This definately affects the way polls are taken but even moreso, the statistics of people who spank their children.

I think another factor in that situation would be how people view the society and how the society would react to their individual actions. People's answers to polls about child abuse would be affected based on as Dr, Jerz said, how the parent looks in his or her own eyes. People don't want to see themselves as bad parents and therefore may not be totally truthful with themselves, and the polls.

Posted by: Andy Lonigro at November 3, 2005 3:11 PM

Thanks guys so much. I'm glad that you enjoyed it and it was effective. I was so worried that it wouldn't work right and I was so relieved when it did. It actually worked out even better than I had expected. Thanks for the good contributions in the discussions after. You guys are the best!

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at November 5, 2005 6:22 PM

Lorin...i thought you did a tremendous job with your presentation. I hope that i do as good of a job that you did with mine. I think that your little game was a great demonstration on how society will change what they read into something totally different. I think you showed the class you read in depth about your chapters and really knew what you were talking about! GREAT JOB!

Posted by: Denamarie at November 7, 2005 12:35 PM

Dena, thanks so much, I eally appreciate the compliment. I am sure you will do an outstanding job on your pesentation! Good luck for when you do!

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at November 10, 2005 11:40 AM

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