Chapter 2 Reading the News 2.1 What Are Data? Data: plural word referring to a collection of numbers or other pieces of information to which meaning has been attached. For example, numbers 1, 3, and 10 are not necessarily data, but become data when told these were weight gains in grams of 3 infants in Salks heartbeat study. (Numbers with context) Dont always believe everything you read! The media rarely presents actual data. The meaning attached to data and the results depend on how well the information was obtained and summarized. 2.2 Some Origins of News Stories Academic Conferences Flooding media at specific time each year re: info presented at the conferences Published Articles in Scholarly Journals Government and Private Agency Research Reports University Media Office 2.3 Seven Critical Components 1. The source of the research and of the funding. 2. The researchers who had contact with the participants. 3. The individuals or objects studied and how they were selected. 4. The exact nature of the measurements made or questions asked. 5. The setting in which the measurements were taken. 6. Differences in the groups being compared, in addition to the factor of interest. 7. The extent or size of any claimed effects or differences. Component 1: The source of the research and of the funding. Three main reasons studies are conducted: 1. By GovernmentPrivate Companies to make wise policy decisions. 2. UniversitiesInstitutes paid to askanswer questions about the world around us. 3. Companies to convince consumers their program or product is better. It is not always easy to discover who funded research. Ask: Would the funding from an organization have a strong preference for a particular outcome? Component 2: The researchers who had contact with the participants. Know who had contact with the participants and what message they conveyed. Participants often give answers or behave in ways to comply with desires of the interviewersresearchers. If possible, blind the interviewer and respondent. Example of bad method: Sending uniformed police officers door to door to survey about illegal drug use.