Crimes against data, talk by Andrew Gelman


Andrew Gelmen gives a great talk on how data gets abused in research and politics. He goes a bit into the statistical weeds at times with T & P values and the like, but he’s also a pleasure to listen to. And he gives some great examples of both academics and public figures that either “treat statistics as a means to prove what they already know, or as hoops to be jumped through.”

Everybody knows this is just as true of NGO reporting and aid punditry, but it’s not clear that there’s anything to do about it. Perhaps it’s just one more reason that every one responsible for managing data or making decisions on the basis of data, should have a methods crash course in the basics of sampling, selection bias, causality, power and replicability. Would love to see basic stats training increase on the same curve as reference to “evidence-based” and “data science” in large development organizations.

But if nothing else, I love the trope. Pls, respect your data, ppl.



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