prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Data Driven Decision Making

Posted by prof e on March 30, 2008

curry.jpgThe best arguments appeal to both reason and emotion. But if you have to choose one over the other, data-supported arguments that appeal to logic and reason are usually preferable. And while the idea of math is frightening to many mass communication students, the preferred method of creating and sustaining a rational argument involves the use of statistical analysis. So whether you’re taking my Audience Research class, or Marketing Research, or you’re thinking about signing up for Sport Writing and Statistics class offered this fall…sooner or later you’ll be face to face with stats. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Thinking and reasoning with numbers can be an extremely valuable skill set to bring to a potential employer, and once you get over the initial “fear of math” you may even find that you like it.

All of us use statistical reasoning on a regular basis…whether we acknowledge it or not. We talk about averages, percentages and even probabilities. Given a sequence of numbers we can spot a trend and most of us know about the basic concepts of central tendencies and variance…even if we don’t know the lingo. If you are going to be a news reporter or editor you’ll need to know how to write about events using statistical concepts that your audience will understand. Simple stats turn confusing sets of numbers into understandable concepts. For example, sports statistics such as FG% and RBIs reduce a pile of data into simple numbers that are easier to understand and compare. According to, Davidson’s Stephen Curry ended the season with 25 points against Kansas for a season average of 25.9 PPG and a 3P% (three-point-shot percentage) of 44.8%. There’s even an online stats resources that uses sports and exercise science examples to teach statistical concepts.

On 60 Minutes this evening, Morley Safer filed a report about Bill James, a statistician for the World Champion Boston Red Sox. The segment illustrated the importance of statistical analysis when making critical decisions. So whether you’re a media content creator or consumer, a sports fan or reporter, a basic understanding of stats will serve you well in the long run…and in the short term it may even increase your GPA.


9 Responses to “Data Driven Decision Making”

  1. Kenneth Moses said

    Using statistics is important to me. As a basketball player for my school stats mean everything for myself and as well as my coach. when i think about stats are used everywhere and with almost everything we do and use in life. without stats i think we would be lost in this world and have no clue about the little things that can make a difference in our life.
    Ken Moses

  2. Kevin Carroll, MCCNM 101 said

    The use of statistics plays a huge part in everyday life. Statistics are used to calculate everything we do. From gas mileage to the stock market. We would completely lost if there was no way to calculate things. Everyone would be broke.

  3. Ira Negron said

    I think stats are very important to the way I view things in everyday life. An important stat to me is the probability of winning the lottery and power-ball. When I use think of the probability of me choosing all the correct numbers I come to the conclusion to keep my money, and I might not have came to that conclusion if I didn’t do the math. Being and avid sports fan I use percentages to decipher how productive and athlete is, especially in baseball and basketball.

  4. marcellus williams said

    stats mean a lot in this world, if we didnt have stats of things everyone would be lost, i mean if we didnt have stats what would the world be today? we wouldnt have a lot of things that we have now. Also since im a basketball player at the school, stats mean alot to me and all the other players and the coaches. In the game the stats can can be the difference between someone losing or winning a game. How would people be notice to goto schools or to the nba if there wasnt stats? we probably wouldnt have any professional sports if it wasnt for stats. so stats are a big key to the world today.

  5. Caitlyn Jewell said

    What is a stat? While conversing amongst friends we are constantly comparing things and asking certain questions. In response we use stats to prove a certain point or to measure something. A stat is a fact. We discuss in media and society the importance of remaining objective when reporting or writing. The best way is to lay out the facts as they are without using first or third person, and without using adjectives and adverbs. Stats hold valuable information and gives factual proof.

  6. Ryann Roles said

    Stats are important. No matter what you do, writing or teaching you will always need to figure stats, or percentages. News Writing is a lot of stats; knowing how many people are involved or what percentage of the sweat shop employees are on strike or how well Carmello Anothny played compaired to Cobe Briant. Numbers are always around so Mass Comm students need to get over it and accept that numbers do exists in all aspects of life.

  7. Rachel Espinoza said

    Any record of data is important. Stats is a huge part of that data and means a lot. I can compare it to basketball stats and how everyone cares about stats. This world is filled with stats and people are always keeping track.

  8. Bilal Carter said

    We keep stats for a reason, the stats are what put people in the hall of fame, it makes accountants have jobs; it’s a vital part of our economy and lifestyle. The whole world is surrounded by stats. The stock brokers and inverters all thrive and depend on stats as means for their next move. A stat is something that has been done, something that has been proven and has been derived important enough for somebody to log down and keep note. Just like in sports they need stats to inform the coaches who to recruit because nobody want to recruit a weak player who is not productive, so stats is the item that sells the player.

  9. charles cruz said

    The use of statics is a vital tool that some may know they are using and others may not. Though we all use some form of statics at some point in our lives. To consider a person that would not need to use any form of stats would take a lot of time to think of how they magically are able to not think or use stats. Though some may consider “math” as a taboo word that is only because they fear what they do not understand and worry about others judging them based on ability. The important fact is that stats and math serve a vital purpose in life and are an inevitable tool that will be used.

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