I have implied this in other entries in this blog, but I might as well say it outright: The library and information science profession needs to come to terms with the issue of standards for (i.e., rules of) evidence for performance, statistical, and advocacy research data. There, now I’ve said it.
I recently read the short and enjoyable book Graphic Discovery: A Trout in the Milk and Other Visual Adventures by statistician Howard Wainer (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005). The subtitle of the book comes from something Henry David Thoreau wrote. During a dairy strike in 1850 in New England people began to suspect that dairy owners were watering down the milk supply. This led Thoreau to write in his journal, “Sometimes circumstantial evidence can be quite convincing; like when you find a trout in the milk.” [Read more...]