full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Mona Chalabi: 3 ways to spot a bad statistic

Unscramble the Blue Letters

I'll use one last example here. One poll found that 41 percent of mmsluis in this country support jihad, which is obviously pretty scary, and it was retoeprd everywhere in 2015. When I want to check a number like that, I'll start off by fidinng the original questionnaire. It turns out that journalists who reported on that statistic ignored a question lower down on the survey that asked respondents how they defined "jihad." And most of them defined it as, "Muslims' personal, peaceful struggle to be more religious." Only 16 percent defeind it as, "violent holy war against unbelievers." This is the really important point: based on those numbers, it's totally possible that no one in the survey who defined it as violent holy war also said they support it. Those two gpuors might not oalevrp at all.

Open Cloze

I'll use one last example here. One poll found that 41 percent of _______ in this country support jihad, which is obviously pretty scary, and it was ________ everywhere in 2015. When I want to check a number like that, I'll start off by _______ the original questionnaire. It turns out that journalists who reported on that statistic ignored a question lower down on the survey that asked respondents how they defined "jihad." And most of them defined it as, "Muslims' personal, peaceful struggle to be more religious." Only 16 percent _______ it as, "violent holy war against unbelievers." This is the really important point: based on those numbers, it's totally possible that no one in the survey who defined it as violent holy war also said they support it. Those two ______ might not _______ at all.

Solution

  1. defined
  2. muslims
  3. groups
  4. overlap
  5. reported
  6. finding

Original Text

I'll use one last example here. One poll found that 41 percent of Muslims in this country support jihad, which is obviously pretty scary, and it was reported everywhere in 2015. When I want to check a number like that, I'll start off by finding the original questionnaire. It turns out that journalists who reported on that statistic ignored a question lower down on the survey that asked respondents how they defined "jihad." And most of them defined it as, "Muslims' personal, peaceful struggle to be more religious." Only 16 percent defined it as, "violent holy war against unbelievers." This is the really important point: based on those numbers, it's totally possible that no one in the survey who defined it as violent holy war also said they support it. Those two groups might not overlap at all.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
unemployment rate 4
everyday lives 2
government statistics 2
spot bad 2
bad statistics 2
political polls 2
academic study 2
decimal places 2
show people 2
swimming pool 2
holy war 2

Important Words

  1. asked
  2. based
  3. check
  4. country
  5. defined
  6. finding
  7. groups
  8. holy
  9. important
  10. jihad
  11. journalists
  12. muslims
  13. number
  14. numbers
  15. original
  16. overlap
  17. peaceful
  18. percent
  19. personal
  20. poll
  21. pretty
  22. question
  23. questionnaire
  24. religious
  25. reported
  26. respondents
  27. scary
  28. start
  29. statistic
  30. struggle
  31. support
  32. survey
  33. totally
  34. turns
  35. unbelievers
  36. violent
  37. war