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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Drawing the right conclusions from the numbers

Just commented on a British Politics and Policy at LSE blog piece by Luke Martell. He presents an argument against the marketisation of British higher education, which, on the whole, I have sympathy for (the argument, not the marketisation). 

But some of the data facts he cites are not, as far as I can tell, correct. It took me about 10 minutes to check this - all the relevant documents are in the public domain and Google finds them immediately so it isn't difficult. 

I'm all for the questioning of data and the interrogation of sources. But one really has to do this properly - not rely on second and third hand accounts that turn out themselves to be misleading. If we fail to do this, or worse still, cherry pick the numbers that support the story we want to tell, then we: a)  hand the other side a first round knockout; b) perpetuate the idea that sociologists can't handle simple numbers.

We really must do better than this if we want to be taken seriously.

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