In a recent issue of our local newspaper, there's an article entitled "Study: More College Students Binge Drinkers or Nondrinkers." In this article, we're told that "...the population of student binge drinkers rose last year to 22.7 percent of the student population, up from 19.8 percent in 1993 and 20.9 percent in 1997."
I was happy to see this article for several reasons. First, it misuses the term "population." Second, it contains the phrase "margin of error." Third, it doesn't mention (but should have) what the response rate was for the written questionnaires used to collect the data. Fourth, there's no statistical comparison of the percentages 22.7 and 20.9; thus, we don't really know if this constitutes a statistically significant difference.
My main reason for feeling good when I saw this article was related to the TOPIC of the article: binge drinking. I consider this to be a problem on most college campuses, and I worry that binge drinkers may seriously injure (or kill) themselves or others. This concern of mine was the motivating factor that caused me to choose the article that went into Chapter 1 of the book. On the surface, it is positioned there to illustrate the typical format of journal articles. On a deeper level, the article that supplied the excerpts in Chapter 1 was selected because it deals with a serious problem involving many college students.
You might want to go back to Chapter 1 and read just the excerpts. Now that you've gained a bundle of of skills for deciphering research reports, I suspect you'll have far less difficulty reading this article now as compared with your first reading of it.
Copyright © 2012
Schuyler W. Huck