Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Posted by:
Caroline Morley

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I have a confession – I love statistics and how they can make sense of a seemingly chaotic world. You may have already guessed this from my fangirl post on Florence Nightingale and my geeky post on a company building 3D graphs.

On the flip side of this is a hatred of misused and misunderstood statistics. Often at the root of “Fake News”, inaccurate and misleading numbers are bandied around by politicians, the media and others who are either mistaken or deliberately misleading people.

My favourite podcast is More or Less from BBC Radio 4 (also available on iTunes) who look at the numbers in the news, finding out where they come from and whether they truly reflect reality.

Like many things, understanding statistics starts with learning what they mean. And when representing information visually, it is also important to understand which types of datasets should be represented by which types of graphs.

I recently discovered the FlowingData website which seems to be edited by someone even more passionate about figures than me. It is a good place to start if you are confused about histograms or vexed by Venn diagrams. They also have some beautiful examples of data visualisation and tutorials on creating online interactive charts.

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Data Visualisation, Infographic, Interactives

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