“There are two ways to learn about statistics. You could endure pages of maths and formulae, or you could learn from informative case studies exploring how, when and why data is used well or badly in today's society. I prefer the second option. Happily, the authors do too.” - Richard Harris, University of Bristol This is not your typical statistics textbook. The amount of data produced by and presented in the media has never been greater. But can we trust what we are being shown? In an age of fake news, how can you understand what data is real, misleading, or simply plain wrong? This book shows you how to critically evaluate the data you see in the media. It weaves everyday real-life examples with statistical concepts in a way that makes statistics come alive. No complex equations, no overly technical language. This isn’t just learning the techniques needed to pass a stats course. This is a book for anyone who reads (or writes) the news, watches adverts, or goes on the Internet. It will give you tools and knowledge you can apply every day to make sense of the use, and misuse, of data in the media.

Ranking with league tables: ‘What’s the best?’

Ranking with league tables: ‘What’s the best?’

Key concepts

construct validity, multilevel models, shrinkage, random variation, regression to the mean

9.1 Introduction

Rankings and league tables, where individuals or organisations are compared against each other in some way, are everywhere. If you’re a student, you might have found yourself on a league table based on your exam results. If you play sports competitively, you or your team may be ranked in a league. Of course, sports league tables often cover a good proportion of newspaper back pages. But increasingly, other organisations are also ranked in newspapers and online. Countries are ranked on their economic growth, their level of democracy and their attitudes to minority rights. In some countries, school league tables ...

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