Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Why you should learn statistics

significant. I could have forgiven Nameless right then, given it a pass on not mentioning this in the “methods” description, had the boilerplate e-mail not continued with the following (I kid you not):

“We think the results of this exercise are neither the cryptic omens of foretellers who don’t really tell us much nor the wild (and therefore unreliable) predictions of analysts who have little grounds for making such sure-handed forecasts. While perhaps a little lower in surprise value, our data is deeper in analysis value and more reliable and applicable.”

What? Huh? What were Nameless’ research directors smoking when they wrote this? Obviously they skipped out of statistics in college to attend an extra literature seminar or two. So now they’re saying that despite only 132 (or 88) respondents the survey is “deep in analysis value” and “reliable” without any of the basic math to back it up? Morale of the story: Before you base any major decisions on industry research reports, be very very skeptical – and maybe even a little afraid.

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