Thursday, December 8, 2011

Telepaths Wanted

Interpreting the Horserace

“As the political reporting heats up, I am reminded once again of how many journalists are totally ignorant of the basic background on what most seem to consider the big story: public opinion polls. I said ignorant, not stupid. They don’t understand the nature of social science research methods, and as a result, they mistakenly believe that with a large enough sample, the polls reveal popular thoughts with the accuracy of teams of telepaths. . . . [S]ince so many reporters are users of social science data, why doesn’t journalism education commonly require courses in social science research methods?”

— Herbert Jack Rotfield,
business professor,
Auburn University, 2011
(Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson)

• Editorial Comment: Telepaths—great idea. (For the record, our students must take both stats and research methods for exactly this reason.)


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