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My first visions of the website started several years ago. That was before I retired. At the time I was working for the US Federal Government on surveys and censuses. I felt that dealing with criticisms of statistical issues was at least for me something of a conflict of interest in that I did not feel free to comment on statistics released by the federal government or on uses of those statistics. I acquired the domain name badstats.org and managed to put all of three posts. So now I am retired and not longer have such constraints. I also did not like the purely negative connotations of the domain name so when I retired I decided on the new name goodstatsbadstats.
The impetus behind this site is my longstanding frustration with the way statistics are used. It has been said “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” I would say that statistics themselves is not the problem. Rather the problems are in how they are constructed and how they are interpreted. With that in mind the readers can expect me to got beyond the statistics themselves to raise questions about how they were derived and also to delve into the logic that is used in the analysis of the data. Sometimes statistics are misused. But at other times it is an error in presentation, analysis, logic or understanding. Then there also is the continuing issues of lack of data. I am a firm believer in data driven decisions. Thus I expect those who are making “statistical claims” to provide in a readily available forum the data need to evaluate the accuracy of their claim and the quality of the data being used to make those claims – be those media reports, press releases, and professional papers.
So I will deal with many topics in this blog – not just the statistics themselves. The comments that I make are best viewed as making use of an opportunity to provide a “teaching moment” and not just as a negative criticism of the data presentation. I will also be adding in some data analysis and commentary of my own making.
By way of background my name is Larry Cahoon. I have a PhD in Statistics and have spent over thirty-five years working on government surveys and censuses. I can be reached at LarryC@goodstatsbadstats.com.
And of course whatever I have to say is just my opinion………….