For disciplines concerned with human well-being, such as medicine, psychology, and law, statistics must be used in accordance with standards for ethical practice. A Statistical Guide for the Ethically Perplexed illustrates the proper use of probabilistic and statistical reasoning in the behavioral, social, and biomedical sciences. Designed to be consulted when learning formal statistical techniques, the text describes common instances of both correct and false statistical and probabilistic reasoning.
Lauded for their contributions to statistics, psychology, and psychometrics, the authors make statistical methods relevant to readers’ day-to-day lives by including real historical situations that demonstrate the role of statistics in reasoning and decision making. The historical vignettes encompass the English case of Sally Clark, breast cancer screening, risk and gambling, the Federal Rules of Evidence, "high-stakes" testing, regulatory issues in medicine, difficulties with observational studies, ethics in human experiments, health statistics, and much more. In addition to these topics, seven U.S. Supreme Court decisions reflect the influence of statistical and psychometric reasoning and interpretation/misinterpretation.
Exploring the intersection of ethics and statistics, this comprehensive guide assists readers in becoming critical and ethical consumers and producers of statistical reasoning and analyses. It will help them reason correctly and use statistics in an ethical manner.
"This text draws attention to a topic that often seems to be neglected or at least carelessly regarded: the intersection of statistics and ethics. … this text represents Hubert and Wainer’s attempt to balance statistics and standards of ethical practice. The authors achieve this by providing interesting and relevant real-life examples covering a variety of topics … this book stands out as a unique text that combines a review of mathematical theorems and formulas, guidance on how to be sharp when using or interpreting statistics, and the impacts (often negative) that can happen (and have happened) when analyses are conducted carelessly. All of these components come together effectively to raise the reader’s awareness of ethics in creating and interpreting statistics, and ultimately help the reader become a more astute and ethically responsible analyst."
—Journal of Official Statistics, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2014
"… a one-of-a-kind volume. … In 18 pithy chapters, this paperback edition covers some of the most important issues of correct reasoning to reach correct conclusions. … a lot of well written information. … Do you really need another book, this book, on research and statistics? YES!"
—Malcolm James Ree, Personnel Psychology, Spring 2014
"… a fascinating and at times perplexing read … I learned some surprising things from reading it …"
—Paul T. Seed, Significance, April 2014
"… most should find it of great use as a guide to the literature on aspects of our discipline that we may lack a formal background in. This is especially so if we are most familiar with the application of statistics to the natural sciences rather than the human sciences. I think that a teacher of senior courses in applied statistics would find a use for this book in helping put some real-world flesh on the theoretical bones of the course. It would also be a useful source of readings (or lead to the discovery of readings) for handouts."
—Murray Jorgensen, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Statistics, 2013
"… even the most experienced statisticians will find the extensive quoted extracts and discussions entertaining, informative, and illuminating. … The volume will provide a great source of illustrative material to enliven courses teaching the ideas and methods behind the topics discussed within it. More than that, however, a course, or perhaps a reading group, based around this book would complement the necessarily dryer material describing the ideas and structures of statistical methods. It would drive home the vital importance of statistics to modern society and certainly make the students sit up and take notice.
In short, the authors are to be congratulated on producing a wonderful volume. I believe that all students of statistics, perhaps of science more generally, would benefit substantially from reading it (and then re-reading it when they had a few years’ practical experience under their belts)."
—David J. Hand, International Statistical Review (2013), 81, 2
"… valuable as a reference … . There is a 40-page bibliography, a six-page author index, a 14-page subject index, and a 13-page list of sources, plus a 105 page online supplement that consists mostly of legal decisions and recommended reading. Using all the resources provided, one can assemble a very long list of issues and applications, with readings and references. … recommended … a resource the statistically sophisticated teacher can mine for material from which to create their own examples to engage students."
—Robert W. Hayden, MAA Review, December 2012
"This thorough and readable work covers important topics spanning specific and general causation to experimental design. It offers engaging examples, lucid explanations, and a thorough consideration of truly important issues, giving readers the knowledge to deal more effectively with ethically charged situations. A valuable guide for sorting through ethical issues in the behavioral, social, and biomedical sciences."
—C.K. Gunsalus, Director, National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, and Research Professor, Coordinated Science Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The (Questionable) Use of Statistical Models
TOOLS FROM PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS
Probability Theory: Background and Bayes’ Theorem
The (Mis)assignment of Probabilities
The Probabilistic Generalizations of Logical Fallacies Are No Longer Fallacies
Using Bayes’ Rule to Assess the Consequences of Screening for Rare Events
Bayes’ Rule and the Confusion of Conditional Probabilities
Bayes’ Rule and the Importance of Base Rates
Probability Theory: Application Areas
Some Probability Considerations in Discrimination and Classification
Probability and Litigation
Betting, Gaming, and Risk
Restriction of Range for Correlations
Measures of Nonlinear Association
Regression toward the Mean
Actuarial Versus Clinical Prediction
Incorporating Reliability Corrections in Prediction
Differential Prediction Effects in Selection
Interpreting and Making Inferences from Regression Weights
The (Un)reliability of Clinical Prediction
The Basic Sampling Model and Associated Topics
Problems with Multiple Testing
Issues in Repeated-Measures Analyses
Matching and Blocking
Randomization and Permutation Tests
Pitfalls of Software Implementations
Sample Size Selection
Traditional True Score Theory Concepts of Reliability and Validity
Quotidian Psychometric Insights
Psychometrics, Eugenics, and Immigration Restriction
DATA PRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION
Background: Data Presentation and Interpretation
Weight-of-the-Evidence Arguments in the Presentation and Interpretation of Data
(Mis)reporting of Data
The Social Construction of Statistics
Adjustments for Groups Not Comparable on a Variable, Such As Age
The Bradford-Hill Criteria for Determining a Causal Connection
Some Historical Health and Medical Conceptions of Disease Causality
Medical Error as (the) Causative Factor
Statistical Sleuthing and Explanation
Sleuthing Interests and Basic Tools
Statistical Sleuthing and the Imposition of the Death Penalty: McCleskey v. Kemp (1987)
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND THE COLLECTION OF DATA
Background: Experimental Design and the Collection of Data
Observational Studies: Interpretation
Observational Studies: Types
Observational Studies: Additional Cautions
Controlled Studies: Additional Sources of Bias
The Randomized Response Method
Ethical Considerations in Data Collection
The Nazi Doctor’s Trial and the Nuremberg Code
The National Research Act of 1974
The Declaration of Helsinki
The Federal Rules of Evidence
The Consequences of Daubert and the Data Quality Act (of 2001)
Some Concluding Remarks