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News and Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields / Edition 2

News and Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields / Edition 2

by Victor Cohn, Lewis Cope


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813814247
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 04/19/2001
Edition description: REV
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

Lewis Cope was a science writer for the Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune for 29 years and, like Cohn, the recipient of numerous awards. Each co-author formerly served as president of the National Association of Science Writers.

Table of Contents

A Note to Our Readers.

A Tribute to Victor Cohn.


Condensed From the Foreword to the 1989 Edition.


1. Where We Can Do Better.

The Challenge.

Four Areas for Improvement..

2. The Certainty of Uncertainty.

The Scientific Method.

Focusing on Medicine..

3. Testing the Evidence.

How to Search for the Truth.

How Probable Is It?.

Expect Some Unexpected Events.

Appreciate the "Power" of Big Numbers.

Eliminate Bias; Consider Alternate Explanations.

Expect Variability.

Putting a Human Face on Variability..

4. What's a Good Study?.

Experiments versus Seductive Anecdotes.

Clinical Researchers at Work.

Clinical Studies: How to Judge them.

Alternative Medicine.

"Disease Detectives' at Work.

Disease Outbreaks: What to Watch For..

5. Questions You Can Ask.

The Bottom Line..

6. Tests and Testing: Measuring What Works.

Patients Tests.

Drugs and Drug Trials.

Animals as Stand-Ins for Us..

7. Vital Statistics: Measuring Life and Health.

The Key Role of Rates in Vital Statistics.

Key Rates of Death and Disease.

Crude Rates versus Rates that Compare.

Putting Numbers on Risk.

Two Cautions.

Cancer Statistics.

Shifts, Drifts, and Blips..

8. Health Plans and Hospitals: Measuring Their Quality.

Health Plans and Managed Care.

Hospital Care Statistics..

9. Our Environment and Measuring All Risks.

Start with Some Key Questions.

Evaluate What You've Learned.

Know the Limits of Science.

Questions to Evaluate Hazards.

Questions to Evaluate Studies.

Special Statistical Situations.

Tips of Reporting Risks..

10. Polls: Measuring What We Think.

Polling with Care.

Case Histories: Ventura, Reagan, and Bush.

Other Poll-Watching Advice.

Another Case History: Asking about Sex.

Potential Perils of "Snowball Samples.".

What Focus Groups Can and Can't Do..

11. Politics, Your Pocketbook, and Plenty More.

Statistical Shenanigans.

Newsy Numbers on Numerous Fronts.

This Book's Bottom Line.

Appendix: Quick-Reference Guide.

Working the Web.

Reporting a Disease Outbreak.

Checklists for Studies and Polls.

What Makes a Good Reporter?.





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