Research Methods

Using Statistics

Statistics are the collection and analysis of (typically) large amounts of quantitative data.

Statistics tend to be favoured by macro sociologists, its advocates seek to infer findings to the wider population from the data they have gathered.

Official statistics are defined by as statistics that are ‘produced impartially and free from political influence’. The government gather huge amounts of statistical data, e.g. exam results, crime rates, prison population and the number of flu cases within a certain period of time.

Discuss with the class the extent to which they trust the claims made in the below clip link:  - Blake Lively L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner

Discover More Do you trust the claims made in this advertisement or any you see on the internet?

After watching the clip, discuss who pays for surveys like this to be conducted? What might this tell us?

As an extension task students could then find newspaper articles which refer to official statistics, such as on crime, and analyse the extent to which they trust the claims being made.

An example of a newspaper article can be found here:

Discover More Crime rates 'lowest for 20 years'


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