Homicide Reduction Program

1. Two researchers are arguing about confidence intervals. One of them contends that precision is more important than the level of confidence, and the other claims that confidence is more important than precision. What would you say to them to help resolve this disagreement? Identify a research scenario in social science or other sciences (medicine, biology, etc.) in which precision would be of utmost concern and one in which confidence would be researchers’ main goal. Explain your rationale for each.

2. Suppose you read a research report that claimed to have uncovered a finding with significant implications for policy. The researchers summarize the results of a multicity homicide reduction program that they claim was markedly effective. They support this claim by pointing out that, during the study period, there was a mean reduction of 1.80 homicides per month across the cities in the sample. Along with that mean, they report a 95% confidence interval of –.40 ≤ µ ≤ 4 (i.e., 1.80 ± 2.20). What is wrong with the researchers’ claim that this program was effective? Identify the flaw in their logic and explain why that flaw makes their claim unsupportable.

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