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Thursday, July 13, 2006



Good one, Liz! The point made on Pharyngula is important. A corollary is the preponderance of evidence. Given an individual study, it is relatively easy to find a counter-vailing study. That is, a person--whether a reporter, scientist, or just about anyone--can cherrypick the evidence, finding one study to "prove a point." Then, the reporter can readily find a countervailing view for balance. However, if one aggregates the evidence (using meta-analysis, for example), one has to integrate both cherrypicked studies and others. One thus gets a bigger picture.

The matter of balance in journalistic reporting of research is, in part, a reason that it is difficult to get traction on such issues as employing effective instructional practices to (a) prevent and (b) treat reading problems. If evidence shows that, say, Success for All or Direct Instruction reliably produces fewer instructional casualties than other beginning reading approaches, reporters seem obliged to go find at least one educator who objects to the identified method and get "balance" from that person.

Department of Amplification

Joel Sax

WTF? Why can't they do this when and where it counts, like when the "president" tries to talk us into perpetuating the war in Iraq?

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