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The most common form of evidence is statistics Statistics are a favorite evidence of many writers and speakers They provide actual numbers in support of ideas and conclusions If you can show that 75 of high schools seniors cannot find Washington State on a map of North America then it is strong evidence for your contention that high school seniors are not being taught the geography of the United States Such evidence is not only difficult to refute its often accepted as the final word in whats true or not true Statistics are a prime source of proof that what you say is true Statistics are based on studies a search for possible connections between disparate facts that nonetheless have a connection If you remember your math classes you will recall the concept of sets and subsets Statistics are in large measure concerned with that concept They are basically telling you the proportion a subset represents in a set To clarify this idea look at political polls Candidate A receives 46 approval Candidate B receives 43 approval Thus the subset responses favoring Candidate A is 46 of the whole set People asked about Candidates A and B Another example from real life William Chadwick with his assistant William Farr during the great cholera plague in London in 1831 drew together factors on who was getting the disease and where they were getting it in London They were looking for some common factor that would lead to what was the source of the disease Their statistics led them to the conclusion that the polluted waters of the Thames River was the source and there was a particular pump that supplied the water to certain neigh borhoods that was a prime source of infection With these data they were able to make recommendations which did much to reduce the incidence of cholera in London Statistics also use samples to obtain results rather than doing
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