Hmm

Jun. 14th, 2010 09:43 am
snorkel_maiden: (Hadron)
[personal profile] snorkel_maiden
It worries me that a science blog such as the Guardian Data Blog (designed to raise awareness of science, numbers, and government data) would print something like this:

"...and that many hospitals are well above the national average."

!!

Date: 2010-06-14 09:58 am (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
"average" is such a slippery word. Like slippers.

Date: 2010-06-14 09:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snorkel-maiden.livejournal.com
Oh absolutely it is; but to make a statement like that without expanding it or clarifying is just sloppy.

Date: 2010-06-14 10:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phil99.livejournal.com
That seems a little unfair to them. They could have stated "the mean", "the mode" or "the median" but would that put off many (some?) readers who don't understand the meaning behind such terms?

They also published the numbers within the article so you can see the variation.

However, I agree phrases like "the national average" are bad, because they gloss over so many contributing factors...

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