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Assignment 1: Should You Believe a Statistical Study?

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We are bombarded by statistical information from a wide variety of sources. Much of the statistical research performed in the world is conducted with a great deal of integrity, validity, and reliability. However, there are many statistical studies that are conducted that are—whether intentionally or unintentionally—plagued by bias.

As a member of society, and as a consumer, it is prudent to develop the skills necessary to critically examine reported statistical claims. Determining whether the report contains bias is a great way to determine the reliability of study results and make a better informed decision.

In this assignment, you will apply the guidelines found in the textbook Unit 5B “Should You Believe a Statistical Study? in order to critically analyze the content, design, and reported results of a statistical study.

Conduct an Internet search to find a study whose statistical results have been published in the news or any other public forum. Applying the following guidelines, critically analyze the study’s reported content and results.

  1. Identify the goal, population, and type of study.
  2. Who conducted the study? Is there bias here?
  3. Is there bias in the sample used in the study?
  4. Are there any problems in defining or measuring the variables of interest in the study?
  5. Are there any confounding variables present in the study?
  6. Are the results presented fairly?
  7. Is the study’s conclusion reasonable? Does it make sense? 
  8. Do the results make practical significance?

Write your initial response in a minimum of 200 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Saturday, March 26, 2016, post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area. Through Wednesday, March 30, 2016, review the postings of your peers and respond to at least two of them. Consider commenting on the following:

  • Do you agree with the student’s identification of bias in the study? Are there other sources of bias to consider?
  • Based upon the student’s analysis, and your review, would you accept the conclusion of this study?

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