Length: 2-3 pages double spaced (a little long or shorter isn’t a big deal)
Find an article/blog post/whatever that attempts to use data and statistics to make their point. Then,
– In a short paragraph, summarize the article.
– Briefly describe the data that is used and how it is collected. What is the sample and what is the population? Example: Survey data collected by QU pollsters. The
sample is those polled, and the population may be U.S. citizens eligible to vote.
– Do you think the sample represents the population accurately? Comment on the data accuracy. Do you think there is any bias? Why or why not? Could there be data
collection issues? If so, what are they? Comment on data types used; are they quantitative or qualitative, time series, cross-sectional, or panel data? (Note: This is
all stuff from Chapters 1 and 2 so it might be worth reviewing them quickly.)
– Are there charts or graphs used? What are they? Do they do a good job of summarizing the data? Why or why not? A good way to test this is to look at the graph
without reading the article and see if you can figure out what it’s trying to say.
– What statistics are used (e.g. mean, median, mode, variance, etc)? Are there other statistics used that you don’t recognize? What is the use of these statistics in
the article? What is the author trying to show with each? If not otherwise stated, do you think there is a lot of variation in the dataset?
– Are probabilities mentioned at all? If so, in what context? Do they make sense, or are they perhaps misleading? If not, can you suggest some probabilities that may
be useful to the article?
– Briefly summarize whether or not you thought the article used data in a meaningful way. Suggest some additional data you might have like to see used (this can be
anything, available or not).