News and Numbers: A Writer's Guide to Statistics, 3rd Edition
September 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Updated throughout, this long overdue third edition brings this classic text up-to-date with the 21st century with a complete updating of examples, case studies, and stories. The text emphasises clear thinking and common sense approaches for understanding, analyzing and explaining statistics, and terms throughout the book are explained in easy-to-understand, nontechnical language. Much new material has been added to ensure the text maintains its pertinent approach to the subject, including:
- A section on computer modelling
- Additional chapters on risks and 'missing numbers'
- Updated sections on health plans and insurance, including updates on President Obama's health system overhaul & new material on health care costs and quality
A Tribute to Victor Cohn, 1919–2000 ix
Notes on Sources xv
Part I Learning the Basics 1
A Guide to Part I of News & Numbers 2
1 Where We Can Do Better 3
2 The Certainty of Uncertainty 8
3 Testing the Evidence 15
4 What Makes a Good Study? 37
5 Your Questions and Peer Review 54
Part II Now Down to Specifics 69
A Guide to Part II of News & Numbers 70
6 Tests and Drug Trials 71
7 Vital Statistics 83
8 Health Costs, Quality, and Insurance 97
9 Our Environment 108
10 Writing About Risks 124
11 Polls 133
12 Statistical Savvy for Many Types of News 145
Lewis Cope was science writer at the Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul for 29 years and, like Cohn, the recipient of numerous awards. Cope formerly served as president of the National Association of Science Writers.
Deborah Cohn Runkle is a Senior Program Associate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Cristine Russell, President, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing
"The demand for press coverage of science and medicine is growing as public interest grows. This book sets the standard. It uses simple language to teach the layman or the scientist how to read and understand scientific publications. Even more important, it teaches one to critically interpret and think about research findings and ask the right questions. This is a book that you can read from cover to cover and then keep as a reference."
- Otis Brawley, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, ACS
“Vic Cohn's reporting inspired a generation of science and health writers, and he kept us on the straight and narrow with his concise and engaging book on how to interpret scientific studies. Now updated and expanded, his classic guide to statistics should be essential reading, not just for reporters but for anybody trying to separate science from pseudoscience in the torrent of unfiltered information flowing over the internet.”
- Colin Norman, News Editor, Science magazine