Journalists are always very keen to use data in news stories. Indeed, it is thanks to statistical information that political predictions and dramatic statements about the number and motives of ‘binge drinkers’ seem to make sense. However, two problems exist when using statistical information in news articles.
The first one is the problem of misinterpretation. Most of the data are based on studies from scholars or commercial agencies which causes a problem of not knowing with who, when and how the survey was conducted. The interpretations that are mostly based on the conclusions provided by the author(s) of the study and can not be checked, not to say double-checked.
The second problem is that some journalists or news media gather data on their own, by using online polls or sending out a short e-mail survey. Some concerns exist that by using these methods, data will not be representative or adjusted to be analyzed in the right way.
During this presentation, Michaël Opgenhaffen will demonstrate how to build an online survey using one of the many (free) online survey tools with a focus on the different options and possibilities. In addition, he will demonstrate how the data can be transformed to statistical programs like Excel and SPSS that can be used for basic and/or advanced analysis. A handout is provided so that the participants can exercise these techniques at home.