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Ethical Implications of the Use of Data and Statistics
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Few people are surprised when politicians are accused of misusing data, but the misrepresentation of information is a fairly common occurrence in other settings as well. For example, teachers may be disheartened by the data coming from their school district’s presentations concerning student performance. Or a training manager may be taken by surprise when the funding is cut for a training program he believes is worthwhile. While the numbers or data may not be false, they may be presented in a way that creates a false impression.
For this Discussion, recall the examples from this week’s Learning Resources regarding how data can be misused or misinterpreted. Also reflect on the old adage: “Figures never lie, but all liars figure.” Then, bring to mind a situation or study in which numbers or statistics were used improperly, or come up with your own example of how this could be done. With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 3
Post a description of a situation/study or hypothetical example in which data or statistics are presented in a way that either intentionally or unintentionally misleads the reader or listener.
Locke, L. F., Silverman, S. J., & Spirduso, W. W. (2009). Reading and understanding research (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
- Table 6.1, “Names of Common Statistical Procedures”
- Table 6.2, “Purpose, Names, and Examples of Research Techniques Used in Quantitative Research”
- Appendix B, “Statistics: A Beginner’s Guide”
Fink, A. (2020). Conducting research literature reviews: From the Internet to paper (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
- Chapter 3, “Searching and Screening: Methodological Quality (Part 2—Collection, Interventions, Analysis, Results, and Conclusion”
- “Purpose of This Chapter”
- “Data Collection and Data Sources: Methods and Measures”
- “Reviewing Qualitative Research” (subsection of “Information Analysis: Statistical Methods in the Research Literature”)
All other sections are highly recommended, but not required.
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