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In several of the sources assigned for this week, you read about the power and influence of infographics on public health awareness, decision-making, and policy. For example, the infographic to the right from the CDC is intended to communicate the importance of vaccination against measles and rubella. As you’ll see, some statistics are included: 100,000 babies are born with Rubella/CRS each year globally, and women infected with rubella in the first trimester of pregnancy has a 90% chance of giving birth to a baby with CRS in addition to running a high risk the baby won’t survive.
While these are scary statistics that quickly convey a strong meaning to the reader, they could also be considered an oversimplification of the complex information or possibly an overreach of the true evidence and statistics at hand. This is a tough balance that we must walk when creating visualizations of our data: conveying information in a visual way that makes complex information easy to digest but not oversimplified or misleading to the average reader.
For our discussion this week, locate and share an infographic or visualization relevant to some aspect of public health.
*Please Use Spiegelhalter’s Ten Questions and your own eye as a critical consumer of statistics and data to evaluate the infographic:
1- How rigorously was the underlying study done?
2- What was the statistical uncertainty/confidence in the findings?
3- Is the summary in the report appropriate?
4- How reliable is the source of the information?
5- Are the findings being “spun”?
6- What has been left out of the story?
7- How does the claim or finding fit with what else is known?
8- What’s the claimed explanation for the actual observations?
9- How relevant is the story for its intended audience?
10- Is the claimed effect important?