Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reading the Numbers Rightly

On the Albran Rountable blog, Wayne Floyd writes: Americans are notorious for trying to quantify everything; we take our numbers very religiously. [I think, New Zealanders are not much different]

Clergy Voices: Findings from the 2008 Mainline Protestant Clergy Voices Survey” is one recent and provocative encyclopedia of statistics profiling the ordained leadership of current Mainline Protestants. A colleague just plopped the hefty 45 page report on my desk, and I’ll resist commenting on it until I’ve actually read it!

Even then, it’s not easy to decide the significance of the quantitative ‘facts’ we’ve read.

Floyd then goes on to look at the problems with numbers - and how we read them. For example, did the United Church of Christ really triple in size between 1990 and 2001, and then halve again before 2008 - or were the questions asked to learn these figures completely different?

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