[Colloquium] How to Lie with Statistics in Data News

It’s time for our monthly colloquium again! This Wednesday, Apr. 13th, we will have our very own Dr. Tong Tiejun, Associate Professor from Department of Mathematics talking about stats error in data news.

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Come join the event at CVA1024, Apr. 13th (Wed) 13:00,sign up starts at 12:50. All are welcome!

Statistics do not lie, but people may lie with statistics in data news. Dating back to 1954, Darrell Huff has written a book titled “How to Lie with Statistics” that presents an introduction to statistics for the general reader. Over the last sixty years, the book has sold many more copies than any other statistical text. As Huff made clear in his book, lying with statistics can be accomplished in many ways. Distorting graphics, manipulating data or using biased samples are just a few of the tried and true methods. Failing to use the correct statistical procedure or failing to check the conditions for when the selected method is appropriate can distort results as well, whether the motives of the analyst are honorable or not. Even when the statistical procedure and motives are correct, bad data can produce results that have no validity at all.

In this talk, Tong will first briefly introduce some background of survey sampling which is often needed in data news. Then he will outline some potential errors in conducting a survey, and explain how these errors may create incorrect conclusions. For illustration, he will provide some simple yet personal examples to show that how bad data can arise, what kinds of bad data exist, as well as how to design an appropriate questionnaire. Some well-known examples from Huff’s landmark book and some current examples in data news will also be provided to fulfill the one hour presentation, followed by a Q&A session.

About the speakerTiejun Tong.jpg

Dr. Tong Tiejun received his Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2005. He was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Yale University School of Medicine from 2005 to 2007. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 2013, Dr. Tong has been the Associate Professor of Department of Mathematics, researching nonparametric & semiparametric regression, shrinkage estimation, high-dimensional data analysis, and meta-analysis.

He is currently a member of Hong Kong Mathematical Society, and holds positions of several influential editorial board.


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