Anecdotes and simple observations are dangerous; words and narratives are not.

*this blog post was also cross-posted on people, spaces, deliberation, including as one of the top 10 posts of 2014. In a recent blog post on stories, and following some themes from an earlier talk by Tyler Cowen, David Evans ends by suggesting: “Vivid and touching tales move us more than statistics. So let’s listenContinue reading “Anecdotes and simple observations are dangerous; words and narratives are not.”

Refereeing an academic paper

The below list is 100% taken from the following sources; my only contribution is to mix them up into a three-page document. Nevertheless, may prove useful. Additions, of course, welcome. Assume that no referee reports are truly anonymous.  It is fine to be critical but always be polite. Skim the paperContinue reading “Refereeing an academic paper”

the onion theory of communication (doing surveys)

without too much detail, i’ll just note that i spent more time in the hospital in undergrad than i would have preferred. often times, i, being highly unintelligent, would wait until things got really bad and then finally decide one night it was time to visit the ER – uncomfortable but not non-functional or incoherent.Continue reading “the onion theory of communication (doing surveys)”

Read it, understand it, believe it, use it

Originally posted on Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences:
“Principles and proposals for a more credible research publication”, an early draft white paper on best practices for social science journals, by Don Green, Macartan Humphreys, and Jenny Smith. Abstract: In recent years concerns have been raised that second-rate norms for analysis, reporting, and data access…

Mo money, mo problems? AMF does not make Givewell’s top-three for 2013 #giving season

This blog is a cross-post with Suvojit. Update 21 December: the conversation has also continued here. Recently, Givewell has revised its recommendation on one of its previously top-ranked ‘charities,’ the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), which focuses on well-tracked distributions of bednets.  Givewell “find[s] outstanding giving opportunities and publish the full details of our analysis toContinue reading “Mo money, mo problems? AMF does not make Givewell’s top-three for 2013 #giving season”

see wound, insert (new, improved, foreign) salt

perhaps like many people in public health, i take the fortification of salt with iodine – the prevention of several thyroid-related disorders and the widespread return of the neck ruff – as one of public/global health’s major achievements. up there with smallpox, water treatment (for sanitation and potentially with fluoride) and really-we-are-nearly-there-but-stuff-keeps-happening polio.  the WHO declaredContinue reading “see wound, insert (new, improved, foreign) salt”