How to critically evaluate information, research and respond as an informed leader and a responsible citizen.
It is known that in order to critically evaluate information which concerns this or that issue and is important for further understanding of the situation, it is necessary to know basic statistics and to have enough knowledge to analyze different numerical information in the texts and create an appropriate statistical data, correct tables and graphs.
A lot of work should be done by the individual who wants to respond as an informed leader and a responsible citizen because only well-managed information can be useful for any study.
There are different ways to get information for the study: records of observations, discussions, questionings which include online responses, interviews, verbal and written questionings; portfolios, written reports of investigations, diagrams, pictures, tables, audio/video records, and so on.(Utts, 1996, p.11)
Cris Spartz helps to understand and explain statistical data in his book Basic Statistics: Tales of Distribution. He is sure that in order to critically evaluate information or research, it is necessary to choose correct statistical techniques for the data which will be analyzed and to have an ability to solve statistical problems. One more thing is that it is necessary to write explanations which are relevant to the statistical analysis. (Spartz, 2008, p.16)
Descriptive statistics allows to describe a set of data by means of summarized numbers while inferential statistics makes it possible to make conclusions concerning the large “unmeasured population”ť by means of measurements from a sample. (Spartz, 2008, p.19)
Nowadays statistics helps researchers not only to critically evaluate information but also to get better understanding of this or that phenomenon or event, or process which takes place in our society. The researchers who are engaged in the study or survey have an opportunity to make necessary measurement, and after that, to produce numbers which will be manipulated in compliance with the numerous rules of statistics. The statistical analysis of this or that event or process helps the researchers to make conclusions and to respond as a well-informed leader and a responsible citizen of his/her country whose knowledge is useful fur the future of the society he/she lives in. (Griffiths & Stirling, 1998, p.10)
It is known that a famous English novelist and historian H.G. Wells wrote that “statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write”ť. I completely agree with his words. (Spartz, 2008, p.4)
The major steps which will help to come to certain conclusions in this or that situation and touch upon the vital issues of our society include the following ones:
”˘ producing information by means of using available information, or generating information from observations, or from experimentation. In the first case, the researchers use “pre-existing information or anecdotal evidence”ť. Gathering information from observations includes different case studies and surveys, sampling population. Gathering information from experimentation includes explanatory and response variables, various ethic and observational studies and so on.
”˘ describing and presenting information. It is very important to ensure “a valid relationship between a variable and a characteristic”ť in order to get correct results. The measurements should be reliable and valid. The information should be displayed in a proper way by means of tables and graphs which should be clear and concise. It will give the opportunity to critically evaluate tables and graphs which provide necessary information.
”˘ Interpreting information. It is necessary to use information which is represented in the tables or graphs to support an argument. The summary of the appropriate information will help to estimate the size of a sample, and using the hypotheses will help to test the information.(Griffiths & Stirling, 1998, p.23)
The above mentioned information proves the fact that different statistical techniques require serious relation and correctness from the researchers.
One more important thing is that in order to critically evaluate the appropriate information it will be very efficient for the researchers to pay special attention to the following concepts:
”˘ sampling methods;
”˘ hypotheses testing;
”˘ estimation theory;
”˘ probability laws;
”˘ quantitative measures;
”˘ regression tests and experiments. (Griffiths & Stirling, 1998, p.6)
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the ability to critically evaluate information or research which can be done by means of different statistical techniques will bring positive results in such disciplines as psychology and medicine, politics and biology, education and jurisdiction, sociology and economics. (Utts, 1996, p.2)
That is why it is very important to respond as a well-informed leader concerning this or that issue and to act as a responsible citizen who tries to do everything possible to be useful for his/her country.
Griffiths, D., Stirling, W.D. (1998) Understanding Data: Principles and Practice of Statistics. Brisbane. QLD: John Willy and Sons.
Spartz, Cris. (2008) Basic Statistics: Tales of Distribution. London:Thomson Learning.
Utts, J. (1996) Seeing through Statistics. Belmont: Duxbury Press.