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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Rosie Ridgway

Ridgway, J., Arnold, P., Moy, W. & Ridgway, R. (2017), Deriving heuristics from political speeches for understanding statistics about society, in Engel, J. eds, IASE Roundtable Conference. Berlin, International Association for Statistical Education.

Author(s) from Durham


Many governments adopt the mantra of ‘evidence informed policy’ and use ‘evidence’ to
justify political decisions. Active citizenship requires an understanding of appropriate and
inappropriate uses of statistics about society. A number of groups are dedicated to
checking the claims made by politicians, and produce commentaries based on careful
analyses of data sources and interpretations. Here, we use the commentaries of one such
group (Full Fact) as a source of insight into some misleading statements made by
politicians. These lead directly to heuristics that can be employed when faced with
evidence claims. Further, the examples provide a basis for a framework for
conceptualizing ‘statistical literacy’ in a data rich world.