Numbers Don't Exactly Lie but They Do Tell Stories

An Online Lecture and Q&A with Deborah Stone


Online Workshop and Q&A

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In a world where many people claim the right to their own facts, statistics have taken on new importance as "hard data". But as Professor Deborah Stone and her pal the Cookie Monster will show, even the simplest forms of counting require people to make judgment calls and to rely on cultural assumptions. Numbers, in other words, contain hidden stories.

With examples from the Covid-19 pandemic, we'll examine who counts, how they count, why they count, what they count (and don't count), and how they try to persuade us that their numbers are correct.  Whether you're building your own measures or relying on someone else’s, you need to be able read the stories numbers tell.

About the presenter:

Deborah Stone is the author of Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters and the award-winning Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. Her work has been published in many academic journals as well as The American Prospect, The Nation, and featured on podcasts such as "More or Less" and "Curious Minds at Work." She has taught courses on all aspects of social policy, policy analysis, ethics and writing at Duke, M.I.T., Brandeis and universities around the world and is currently Professor Emerita at Brandeis.


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