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The Wrong Numbers

"If the statistics are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers."  -- Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information



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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
kaolinfire
Oct. 21st, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Or looking at them wrong, which seems more appropriate given the title :heh:
hypothermya
Oct. 21st, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
Hehe.... You might be really interested in reading this book, btw. Or, if not you, Amy might be. The quote above is in reference to the fact that most publications feel that statistics are always boring -- and that they have to "spice" it up somehow in order not to lose their audience. The entire assumption kind of assumes that your audience glazes over when presented with any numbers at all... The argument, of course, is that you don't need to stick in pretty graphs whenever you feel that there aren't enough pretty pictures; and you certainly don't need to decorate a graph in order to get your reader to look at it. Instead, you need to have data compelling enough to gain your readers attention. (E.g. Does the data really have a point? Or are you just throwing it in there because you're afraid your readers will be intimidated by too many words, or won't understand the words they're reading?)
psybelle
Oct. 21st, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
I love Tufte's stuff, got to hear him talk once... would love to see the results of him brainstorming with the visual processing researchers and a few semiotics folks, but I'm afraid we'd have to shoot each and every one of the marketing folks who snuck into that meeting.
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