From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

August 2020
« Jul    
Hot buttons. 5. Where do you get reliable data, information and conclusions?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:56 pm

It is just as hard now, as it was in the past, to assess reports
of data.  In the past, one would have to wait until there was
enough sample size using the specific question.  So often
now we need to assess the bias inherent in the source.

[If data is published in peer reviewed journals by a variety
of established authors, it is likely worth using the results and
conclusions.   What must be factored in is that publications support
awarding of grants and promotions.  Publications represent
a time-honored path.  Things can be proven wrong, but rarely
do these kinds of results find the light of day.]
Think about business news or about scientific data, hypotheses
and conclusions in “news.”  So much is hampered by bias from
various sources.  In science, we speak about the importance of
controls or control charts and sample size.  The logic of
conclusions and validity of models also play essential roles.
There is an equivalence in the non-scientific world of looking
at ‘news cycles’ and marketing of ideas.  In addition, we are 
encouraged to realize the emotional content and repeat frequency
with catchy easy phrases that sway human thinking when there
is not an equally persuasive rebuttal.
There was a time when audiences believed that there was an
editor and fact checker for what is reported in media.  It seems
like this is no longer the case as the money driven enterprises
seek ready-viewers and ready-readers.  So common now
summaries of habits miss that dimension.
Example:  A key ingredient of the lead or initial paragraph
states the interpretation of polls .  Polls represent timely, novel,
conflict-ridden, meeting standards of newsworthiness.
Nonetheless, polls depend on the question raised, options of
answers, the sample size and variety, timing and context.  
They are of a different “reality.”
Readers should be encouraged to use our science tools
to report, consume and believe the news we pay attention to.
It is of high value to highlight journalism best practices 
using the scientific method.

2 Responses to “Hot buttons. 5. Where do you get reliable data, information and conclusions?”

  1. site admin Says:

    Trends in news consumption poll/
    Who is doing the survey,
    what are the costs,
    what are the pros and cons of each medium?

  2. site admin Says:

    Retirement Planning considerations:
     -maintain income sources, work, consult, part-time
     -why do employees quit– health, caring for others,
    downsizing (three add up to more than 50%)
     -reduce debt and interest on debt (lowest interest
    rate loans) 
      -manage expenses, choose when to make large
    purchases (if stock market jumps, use gains for expenses)

Leave a Reply