Many research are crucial importance in our modern world and provide hope to solve facing problem. The way to assess a quality of research is Statistics. Statistics are derived from an essential information and show in number, percentage, graph, rate, etc. However, statistics are not only significantly valuable but they are also notorious for being misleading. Naturally, People believes that cited statistics are accurate and plausible because actual data is substituted in simple number while more and more people believe that best decision can be reached by algorithmic evaluation of some statistical data. In other words, quality of research and complex judgment are replaced by numbers. Whereas numbers that appear in statistics is objective but their objectivity can be distracted. Because the meaning of numbers can be eventually more than subjective when people interpret statistics and the subjectivity is less crystal clear. As stated in 'Citation Statistics' (Adler R. et al., 2008), Numbers are not inherently superior to sound judgment. Because research usually has multiple goals and it is reasonable that its values must be judged by multiple criteria. Research and complicated judgment are too important to measure its value with only a single tool. In addition, statistical literacy is also essential. Many people do not understand what statistics mean or draw a wrong conclusion and lack of understanding cause an intense anxiety in a society. Also, statistics represent the truth of the social problem. In common sense, the social problem becomes statistics but many people treat statistic as true that have been discovered and think of statistics as facts that is incontrovertible. In fact, statistics are just numbers we create and relying on statistical data is not more accurate when the statistics are improperly used. Moreover, statistics can be misleading when they are misapplied or misunderstood in the following areas, Health, Crime, and Economics.
First of all, Health Statistics, many doctors, patients, and journalists are statistical illiteracy. The definition of statistical illiteracy, in term of Gigerenzer G., is the people who have an inability to understand meaning of statistics. The evidences show that statistical illiteracy is common to people, and another one is created, both unintentionally and intentionally, by nontransparent of information from lack of knowledge or to persuade people. As noted by Gigerenzer G. et al.,(2008) in Helping Doctors and Patients Make Sense of Health Statistic show that in 1995, U.K. Committee on Safety and Medicines issued a health warning about the risk of thrombosis (blood clots) in women taking third-generation contraceptives. These pills carry double the risk of the second-generation pills. This was correctly described as a 100% increase in the risk of blood clots but this is misleading. A risk increase of 100% sounds enormous, and this figure is huge statistical illiterate. Most women might believe that they have a 100% chance of suffering a thrombosis, if they take third - generation instead of second - generation contraceptives, whereas the actual risk of thrombosis is 1 in 7000 for second - generation and 1 in 3500 for third - generation pills. The 100% figure describes the relative risk between the two pills instead of the absolute risk. Many people panicked and stopped taking pill. This incident led to not only losing confidence to use the pill but also additional abortions at that time. 13,000 additional abortions increased from the pill scare. The result has implicated increasing cost $70 million to the Nation Health Services for abortion provision. The report shows that the pill scare hurt woman, hurt Nation Health Service, and even hurt pharmaceutical industry. However, we have lived in the world of statistics. Mass media presents simply big number for a captivating headline and generate more attention. People are under the illusion that statistics in headline are true. Education in basic statistics, therefore, is required to enlighten people. Many rhetoric of study need more statistical knowledge to understand its purpose. Statistical literacy is necessary precondition for understanding risk and answers crucial question.
Furthermore, crime statistics play a key role to promote social problems. Thus, the importance of crime statistics is leading social problems to public notice. According to Missing children, Misleading Statistics (Best J., 1988) Statistics bring widespread attention to missing children, and become to represent the massive phenomenon. The movement merged in 1981, following intense mass media of the disappearance of Adam Walsh. The public certainly came to perceive child abduction as a serious problem. By 1985, National Center for Missing and Exploited (NCMEC) was established to prevent this matter. It is remarkable that the missing child gain more critical attention by policy. By the way, The NCMEC shows that there are 4,000-20,000 stranger abductions per year despite the press reported that conservative estimate 50,000 children are abducted, not counting parental kidnapping, custody fights and murder. The NCMEC disputed that the gap between these numbers are included the word kidnapping, attempted to kidnapping, or abduction. In some case, the victim might have been missing for a few minutes as a 'run away' problem. These crimes are not reported. Thus, this is the reason for discrepancy between the collected numbers and estimated numbers. However, a narrower definition should take into account for showing real number because an actual number of missing children will lead to a social perception to create public control system. Statistics are products of social processes, they can have social consequences. The numbers of missing children movement need for greater social control: school should require detailed identification records for everyone; children should be educated about the jeopardy of abduction and in basic self - defense; police power should be expanded; courts should accept testimony from very young children; and so on. Moreover, society inevitably confronts many essential crime problems. Although, the high numbers of crime statistics cause a huge concern in a society but the rhetoric of crime rate, a distortion of the fact, will not emphasize the problem's magnitude and importance. Crime statistics fail to represent that the crime problem is significant problem requiring an enormous social attention to solve it. Crime statistics must reflect a true picture to ensure that public attention is directed to the problem and the problem will be diminished.
Lastly, an unemployment rate inaccurately reflects the labor market. Barrow L. (2004) explains in "Is the official unemployment rate misleading? A look at a labor market statistics over business cycle" the official unemployment rate may lower than actual. The unemployment rate is calculated from survey data collected by BLS Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS survey a representative sample of roughly 50,000 occupied households. The sample are individual must be 15 years old and not in an armed force. Moreover, all persons who live in institutions such as prisoners and nursing homes are excluded from this survey. Thus, labor forces are the people in the civilian non-institutionalized age 16 years old and over. The unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed and the labor forces. The reasons that inaccurate unemployment rate is the change in population. The CPS only surveys the non-institutionalized, civilian population. Over time, the numbers of institutionalized has changed from 0.98% in 1940 to 1.44% in 2000. Katz and Krueger (1999) estimate that the increase in incarceration rates between 1995 and 1998 may account for 0.3% and 0.17% drop in male unemployment in the overall unemployment rate respectively. Another reason is persons who are classified as unemployed if they report that they were not employed but actively searching for employment while discouraged workers, the people who are not actively searching for employment, will be included in a labor force. As reasons above, unemployment rate is not accurate to reflect labor market. However, the relevant terms are unemployment and labor force. The definition of terms, unemployment and labor force, are very important because more people are counted in a labor force even they are not looking for a job. They are not actually labor force that not supposes to be calculated. In fact, labor market status relies on self definition. Thus, to utilize unemployment rate must understand its limitation. Unemployment rate need to improve an alternative method of data collection that might take more time, before statistics give us a definitive picture.
In conclusion, statistics are not only a tool for assessing a quality of research but statistics can also provide valuable information for understanding an actual circumstance. On the other hand, statistics can be misleading when they are inappropriately used or misapplied. Even though, statistic are derived from true data, but they are just numbers we make. Heavy reliance on statistics is not without any risk impact when you are statistical illiteracy. Without precise interpretation, statistics can be misunderstanding. Alternatively, Many public notices come from statistics. Therefore, statistics are crucial to present social problem and emphasize the true extent of the problem. Crime statistics are not only reflecting real situation but they also draw a public attention to cope with it. To use statistics, however, we must understand their limitation to demonstrate research more transparency and accountability. People must clearly understand statistical tool and know reliable sources before trusting in any data. Anyway, statistics are and will remain as the valuable tool to assess the quality of study and to analyze data to make a fine decision.