Estimating Mortality in War-Time Iraq: A Controversial Survey with Important Lessons for Students
Version of Record online: 2 APR 2007
Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 34–37, June 2007
How to Cite
De Maio, F. (2007), Estimating Mortality in War-Time Iraq: A Controversial Survey with Important Lessons for Students. Teaching Statistics, 29: 34–37. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9639.2007.00268.x
- Issue online: 2 APR 2007
- Version of Record online: 2 APR 2007
In teaching introductory quantitative methods in sociology, I have used a controversial survey of mortality in Iraq before and after the 2003 invasion to highlight to students the power of simple questionnaires, the role of ambiguity in statistics and the place of politics in the framing of statistical results. This brief report summarizes Roberts et al.'s (2004) estimate that the invasion of Iraq resulted in 98,000 (95% CI = 8000–194,000) deaths, as well as the intriguing reaction that the survey received in the press. Statistics teachers should find the Roberts et al. study to be an effective way to introduce students to more controversial – and political – aspects of statistical research.