Basic Errors to Avoid When Interpreting Survey Statistics

Everyone loves quoting a statistic, and no wonder: specific numbers always sound more convincing than broad generalisations. However, not all statistics are created equal???the results of a web poll are demonstrably less valid than votes in a national election???-and many of us misquote data for our own ends even when the source is basically reasonable. Here are some simple issues worth bearing in mind whenever you consider statistics. They should be obvious, but they’re often ignored.

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