After completing chapter one, you have the basics of the COMPARABLE framework. Week Two will introduce you to time-based comparisons, term definition, the art of performing mental experiments, and the many uses of percentages.
This section deals primarily with the following elements of the COMPARABLE framework: M: Do a mental experiment. In the process of writing this book, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most important parts of any comparer’s toolkit is hypothetical thinking. Hypothetical thinking comes in many forms, but the key skill is gaining [...]
This section deals primarily with the following elements of the COMPARABLE framework: L: Would the comparison benefit from a longitudinal/cross-sectional analysis? B: Were base rates considered? Were relative and absolute increases considered? P: Were the pictorial/graphical representations fair and unbiased? Did they help illustrate the data or were they eye-candy? Note to instructors: We are [...]
So what do we mean when we say something like “Asthma has risen?” The naive answer is that “More people have asthma.” But what exactly are we counting? What has gone up? We can measure asthma in a number of ways: Emergency room visits A survey where we ask people about asthma medication New diagnoses [...]
One of the quickest ways to become a smart consumer of statistics is to translate raw numbers into percentages, and raw increases into percentage gain. Percentages are not just an alternate way to present a statistic. They can give you a broader sense of the relative size of the statistic you are looking at. They [...]
1. A politician tells you that median personal income has risen, but median household income has fallen. Look up these terms if you are unsure of their meaning, and brainstorm some reasons that personal income might rise while household income might fall. Write them down. 2. Is it possible to go the other way (personal [...]
This question can be used any time after the “Defining Terms” section. Many public health experts worry that if the price of alcohol is too low that people will drink more, and more health and safety problems will result. This is currently (as of this writing in 2012) a debate that is going on [...]
Questions: 1. Rick Santorum, a candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination, claimed that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.” [Source: http://bit.ly/A77XED] What is being explicitly compared here? Is it a longitudinal or cross-sectional comparison? If 62 percent is the “part”, what is the “whole”? 2. Of [...]