stats manipulation

In Spring 2015 a researcher published results of a study on the benefits of eating chocolate to help lose weight. This article spurred many news media reports on the benefits of chocolate, for example in the Daily Mail. I personally saw a segment on the Today Show reporting the original article’s findings.

In May, the author released news that his published student was not based on science but essentially “junk”. His point is individuals including the media need to be skeptical to what they read and make sure the results are based on good science. Too often data can be manipulated in a way to prove a particular argument especially in media coverage.

What are your thoughts on these manipulations? What can you do to help distinguish between statistical conclusions that are likely to be valid and those that are seriously flawed? Would you have believed the original study?

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