Share
Explore BrainMass

Stats vs Ethical Considerations

1. Does using statistics as the sole basis for making a decision eliminate the need for ethical considerations? Why or why not? What role do ethics play when performing statistical testing?

Solution Preview

As an applied statistician let's see if I can shed a little light on the issue you have presented. First of all, statistics are nothing but numbers, values or measurement data. They hold no emotion, no fear, have no conscious, and as Disraeli stated, and popularized by Mark Twain, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." What he should have added after "..and statistics.", there are statisticians. What I mean here, a statistician is a living human being and has the power to interpret any measurement value in any manner chosen. As such, lies are often the result. Thus, when working with measurement values that have "no heart" it is up to the statistician to make sure that the interpretation of the mathematical values are accurate, moral/ethical, and reliable and valid. To this end the statistician must follow Deming's code of ethics which is:

"Devote oneself to the statistics profession alone.

Set ethical rules with the client up front.

Limit own role as statistician only to those functions supported by
statistical theory.

Draw conclusions only about the frame, not the population.

Retain exclusive publication control over statistical matter one reports.

Assure reports clearly state who did what in conducting the study and
document all meaningful possible sources of error.

Prepare own expert testimony. (Lawyer can help clarify, but not
originate, positions.)

Reserve right to break off an engagement without explanation. Do so if a
client or colleague (on a joint study) does unacceptable work.

Retain all rights to statistical theory developed on an assignment to
share them with the profession. "

At the same time the statistician must make sure that the following principle of research investigation are followed:

Sampling is ...

Solution Summary

1. Does using statistics as the sole basis for making a decision eliminate the need for ethical considerations? Why or why not? What role do ethics play when performing statistical testing?

$2.19