Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lies and Statistics

Hi all, I'm Sandeep Ravindran, one of the NASW graduate travel fellows. I'm a Science Communication graduate student at UC Santa Cruz. I'm excited to be attending my first NASW conference, and I look forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting lots of new people.

Mark Twain popularized the quote, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." I don't think statistics are usually quite that bad, but they can often be tricky to interpret and report on accurately. And getting statistics right is especially crucial when writing about science.

That's why I'll be blogging about "Get the numbers right: A workshop on reporting statistics", where I look forward to learning more about the common errors reporters make when writing about statistics. The session will also offer practical advice that I'll share with readers of this blog.

I certainly had to deal with my share of statistics during my graduate research in microbiology and immunology. I graduated in 2009 with a Ph.D. from Stanford University, and by then I knew I wanted to pursue a career in science writing. I freelanced a bit and also spent an enjoyable (and busy) 10 months as an editorial intern at Popular Science and Science Illustrated magazines in New York City.

I then decided to go back to school, and will graduate from UC Santa Cruz next June. You can find out more about me and what I've published at my website. I'll also send the occasional tweet from the conference @sandeeprtweets.

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