Data Tells: Dissecting Every Day Data

There's a popular W. Edwards Deming quote among data professionals: "In God we trust; all others bring data."

But can we even trust data anymore? It seems like data is often misinterpreted or misrepresented. Every day we are bombarded by headlines about new surveys and studies that tell us what we need to do to be healthier, have a better career, be happier, be smarter, and be successful at dating or in a relationship. Yet, as data professionals, we know that correlation doesn't mean causation. Right?

So when we see a headline that says "Grilled cheese lovers have more sex and are better people, according to survey," we probably won't out and order a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

Indeed, according to John H. Johnson, who looked at the data behind this headline and survey, the headline should really have read: "Grilled cheese lovers SAY THEY have more sex and are better people, according to a DATING WEBSITE survey for NATIONAL GRILLED CHEESE DAY."

Johnson, a statistician with a Ph.D. in economics from MIT, is the author of the book Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day. He joins us at AllAnalytics radio.

As the whole world grapples with the concept of "fake news" and looks for insight into what information to trust and not to trust in the growing flood that drowns us every day, Johnson will bring his expertise to bear during this radio show.

We'll examine:

  • Common ways data is misrepresented or misinterpreted,
  • The limitations of forecasts and predictions,
  • How to recognize "Tells" in data and headlines,
  • And we'll answer your questions.

Join us as we gain more perspective about what data we can trust

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