Chapter 15

Claims, Tests, and Conclusions

In This Chapter

arrow Testing other people’s claims

arrow Using hypothesis tests to weigh evidence and make decisions

arrow Recognizing that your conclusions could be wrong

You hear claims involving statistics all the time; the media has no shortage of them:

  • Twenty-five percent of all women in the United States have varicose veins. (Wow, are some claims better left unsaid, or what?)
  • Cigarette use in the U.S. continues to drop, with the percentage of all American smokers decreasing by about 2 percent per year over the last ten years.
  • A 6-month-old baby sleeps an average of 14 to 15 hours in a 24-hour period. (Yeah, right!)
  • A name-brand, ready-mix pie takes only 5 minutes to make.

In today’s age of information (and big money), a great deal rides on being able to back up your claims. Companies that say their products are better than the leading brand had better be able to prove it, or they could face lawsuits. Drugs that are approved by the FDA have to show strong evidence that their products actually work without producing life-threatening side effects. Manufacturers have to make sure their products are being produced according to specifications to avoid ...

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