Come and hear how the media can misinterpret statistics! (surely not!!)

Monday 10th December, 7 for 7.30 pm, The Old Buttermarket, Canterbury, SSPSSR’s Dr Rob de Vries will be talking about, ‘Lies, Fake News, and Statistics’.

Browse your social media feed, turn on the TV, or open your news website of choice – chances are it won’t be long before you come across a story based on a statistic. Maybe it’s that ‘70% of married women have cheated on their partners’ (The Washington Post) or that ‘32,000 people in the US die from gun violence every year’ (tweet by US Senator Tammy Baldwin) or that ‘One in five British Muslims sympathise with Jihadis’ (The Sun).

The news is full of numbers for a good reason: numbers and statistics are vital to understanding what’s really going on in the world. But they can also be deceptive. In the wrong hands, they can easily end up giving us a distorted picture of reality. In this talk, based on his new book Critical Statistics: Behind the Headlines, Robert de Vries will show how understanding a few simple tricks and some basic statistical concepts can help us see the truth behind the numbers in the news.

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Do the British public believe ‘benefit myths’?

Do the British public believe ‘myths’ about the benefit system, or do they have a roughly accurate view about how it works? A new paper by Ben Baumberg Geiger, published in the journal Social Policy & Administration in August, looks at this question in detail – access the paper here.   Alternatively see the working paper from the LSE Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion available here. Ben’s other numerous papers are available on his website with links to the web appendices and web tables – plus two of the datasets used in the Social Policy and Administration paper.

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Student evaluations: are they worth it?

This was the underlying question at a summer conference attended by Gianna Eick.  Gianna’s own thoughts on this are that, when data is used well,  combining findings from various surveys, staff and student focus groups, then progress can be made in improving the student learning and living experience.  See here for Gianna’s post, which includes her reflections on presenting at a large conference as a young and less experienced researcher.

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The long awaited stats text everyone is talking about!

This month’s ‘must buy’ text ‘Critical Statistics Seeing Beyond the Headlines’ is now available on the publisher’s website.  Authored by Q-Step’s Rob de Vries, this is a fabulous introductory texts for students doing statistical research for the first time or for all those out there interested in the facts behind the headline news.

 

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Attempts to tackle opioid crisis drives demand to the darknet

Research involving Dr Jack Cunliffe has found that tighter prescription regulations on certain opioid medications led to a significant increase in illicit online drug trading for these painkillers. Jack Cunliffe, Lecturer in Quantitative Methods and Criminology, developed the methodology and the analytical output, and played an active role in developing the work.  See the paper in the British Medical Journal for more details.

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Fascinating findings from Dr Heejung Chung

Dr Heejung Chun, Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, had a productive summer with a number of successful media publications.  See this for Heejung’s reflections on recent YouGov research that shows that majority of workers want some sort of flexibility in their working hours and this for a comment on the concept of ’emotional labour’, ‘the unpaid, unappreciated effort that goes into conforming to societal expectations’ that particularly affects women in the workplace.

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Welcome to the relaunched Q-Step News page!

Hello all!  This is our new section for the Q-Step website where we plan to post news about the work of our Q-Step staff and students as well as anything out there beyond Kent that might spark an interest for our readers.  If you have any ideas for future posts or have done anything that you feel we could share on here, please do let Victoria know (v.schoen@kent.ac.uk).  Many thanks.

 

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