STATS.org is a non-profit, non-partisan project to analyze and explain numbers and statistics in the news and to promote statistical literacy in the media and society. It is a joint project of the American Statistical Association and Sense About Science USA.

STATS.org has long provided free advice for journalists on mathematical and statistical issues, whether looking at the statistical data in new studies, talking about how a topic might be analyzed, or just talking through the numbers in a story. We have helped journalists from the Associated Press and ABC News to the New York Times, the Economist and Wired. We are currently building an advisory board of ASA members so that we can expand and enhance this service. Just drop us a line here and we’ll do our best to help!

Did the Health Benefits of Alcohol Just Vanish?

Drinkers, quitters, teetotalers compared—but did the media miss the real story in the statistics?
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The Challenge of Selection Bias

A survey suggested Republican Senators were in favor of paid parental leave for their staff—but not for the public.

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The CDC Conspiracy

Fears about vaccines on the right are being driven by powerful frames that tie statistical analysis to government cover up

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Climate Change, Statistical Significance, and Science

Are scientists using statistics to play dumb on climate change?
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Can Selfies Save Nutrition Science?

Hundreds, possibly thousands of health studies may be wrong because researchers ignored human fallibility

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The CDC Conspiracy

Should the media cover anti-vaccination claims? It seems as if conventional reporting would probably do more harm than good if it did by reporting both sides and creating the impression of equivalency between weight of evidence and false claims. But what if the latest claim is a statistical analysis—and a senior CDC vaccine researcher appears to back it up?

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African American Boys and Autism

  A shocking reanalysis of CDC data claimed that African American boys had a greater risk of autism associated with the time they were vaccinated, and that the agency had covered up this finding. The study ignited a wave of conspiracy charges across the web; but... read more

Drink — and the Odds of Injury

A recent story in The Washington Post’s Wonkblog claims that that, by looking at people who wind up at the Emergency Room, you can figure out how often drinking leads to injury. The Post’s headline—”Study: Having just one drink doubles your risk of... read more

Statistically Significant: Key Concepts for Reading—and Writing—about Statistics

Rebecca Goldin talking to reporters at NPF Seminar on Cancer Reporting

How to Cover Journal Articles

In December 2014, STATS’ Director Rebecca Goldin talked to journalists about how to cover scientific data during the National Press Foundation’s program on reporting cancer research. To listen to an audio recording (80 minutes), click here.

Odds or Probability?

What are the odds you know the difference between odds and probability? While not the same, the two words often are conflated in lay discussions and, perhaps, most ironically, in a recent New York Times article, How Not to Be Fooled by Odds. Numerous times, the... read more
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Are You a Journalist?

Need statistical guidance on a story? We have helped reporters from ABC News to Wired to think through the numbers on their stories.  And we want to help you. Just give us a reasonable deadline and contact us here.


From the latest issue of Chance

Comic or graphic-novel style guides to statistics might seem like the ideal way to introduce the subject to beginners. Or not. Which book elicited a “Wow…might be one of the worst introductions to statistics you can get… unless you really are looking for a surreal introduction to statistics?” Which book contained a “meaningless” formula? And which was deemed, “witty, pedagogical, and comprehensive?” Read Rasmus Bååth and Christian Robert’s review here.

 


How deep is the ocean?
Cover of December 2014 Significance

Got STATS? Why not get Significance?

From the heavens to the ocean depths, explore life through statistics with Significance, published by the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association!

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