The question up for debate this week is whether having an understanding of statistics is beneficial. The answer…Yes and this doesn’t only apply to those looking to go into careers which require statistics, but to the laymen too. Having an understanding of statistics enables us suitably evaluate the myriad of numbers which bombard us daily, and thus guard yourself from being fooled or manipulated by them. So let’s see an example of a statistic I saw recently; “100% of people saw improvement in just 1 days! After 4 weeks, they had clearer skin and after 8 weeks it stayed clearer”. So to most people this product would seem like a great choice, if 100% of those tested showed an improvement and continued to show improvement it’s certainly going to work for you and I right? Not quite, a quick glimpse at the small print gives us a better idea at what is really being said here. The statistic is actually composed of two separate tests, in which two separate products within the kit are tested on two separate groups. However, the two statistics are slyly linked with the vague use of the word “they” to imply it’s one group. This infers is that everyone who used the kit experienced improvement, and continued to do so for 8 weeks. Whereas the reality is that a small group of 30 people found that the isolated use of 1 of the 3 products from the kit lead to an improvement. Another separate group of 31 people who trailed a different product within the kit found a improvement over 8 weeks. Therefore this statistic is pretty useless at telling us how effective the kit is as a whole, when all components are used in combination the way in which customers are directed to use it. As you can see from this example, a very minimal use of statistics understanding has shown us that the reality of this particular statistic is far from what it claims. In conclusion having a basic understanding of statistics can enable us to dissect figures given to us and determine their true merit, this overall enables us to make informed decisions in our everyday lives.

The statistic and small print mentioned above can be found at the following link: