Gordon Lecturer, Dr. Lawrence Sherman, Wolfson Professor of Criminology at the University of Cambridge will present How to Talk About Data Without Scaring People Off on Wednesday, March 2 at 3:30 p.m. in Olin 114.
Future historians may call this moment in history “the age of precision.” Then again, they may call it “The Triumph of the Nerds.” Whether the growing benefits of data analysis can conquer a widespread fear of numbers depends on how we all talk about data. ALL of us, not just analysts, need to find a terminology of the common ground—roughly corresponding to my last good year in arithmetic, which was third grade. The big idea here is fractions. This idea embraces a huge range of data-analytic tools: rates per 100,000, the consumer price index, conditional probability, stratified sampling, effect sizes and statistical power. Whatever you have to say or understand about data, converting a result into fractions can reduce your scariness quotient by 90%—plus or minus 7.365% (both fractions illustrating false precision).
This lecture is sponsored by the Doris G. Gordon Lecture Series and the Department of Math and Computer Science.