Monday, June 28, 2010
This morning I discovered Bradley Wright's blog, along with his recently published book (the official publishing date is July), called Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media.
Wright is a sociologist at the University of Connecticut. On his blog he likes to spend time digging into statistics to see if they say what we're told they say - in other words, he's a man after my own heart (a blogger and suspicious of how stats are often interpreted). It's not that he doesn't believe the stats; but he wants to make sure we're getting real information out of them, not false.
For instance, in a post he wrote late last year called The Creation of a Useful, but Inaccurate, Statistic he takes George Barna to task for 'proving' something from a very small sample (270 participants) and from questions that were ambiguous to say the least. This is typical of Wright's approach, and typical of the information in his book too, by the sound of it.
I think Barna does a pretty good job overall, but I do question some of his polls and surveys. Having taken part in a good number of surveys myself over the years, and having had to put more than one together, I know how easy it is for the wrong questions to be asked - with the result that the wrong answers get recorded, and misinformation arises.
I'm going to be adding Wright to my list of blogs needing to be read on a regular basis. When it comes to the world of stats, we need all the insight and clarity we can get.