Cloth $56.00 ISBN: 9780226526300 Published November 2004
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226526317 Published November 2004
E-book $7.00 to $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226526324 Published April 2008

The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers

Jane E. Miller

The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers
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A study guide of exercises is available online.

Jane E. Miller

312 pages | 13 text boxes, 55 figures, 20 tables | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2004
Cloth $56.00 ISBN: 9780226526300 Published November 2004
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226526317 Published November 2004
E-book $7.00 to $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226526324 Published April 2008
People who work well with numbers are often stymied by how to write about them. Those who don't often work with numbers have an even tougher time trying to put them into words. For instance, scientists and policy analysts learn to calculate and interpret numbers, but not how to explain them to a general audience. Students learn about gathering data and using statistical techniques, but not how to write about their results. And readers struggling to make sense of numerical information are often left confused by poor explanations. Many books elucidate the art of writing, but books on writing about numbers are nonexistent.

Until now. Here, Jane Miller, an experienced research methods and statistics teacher, gives writers the assistance they need. The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers helps bridge the gap between good quantitative analysis and good expository writing. Field-tested with students and professionals alike, this book shows writers how to think about numbers during the writing process.

Miller begins with twelve principles that lay the foundation for good writing about numbers. Conveyed with real-world examples, these principles help writers assess and evaluate the best strategy for representing numbers. She next discusses the fundamental tools for presenting numbers—tables, charts, examples, and analogies—and shows how to use these tools within the framework of the twelve principles to organize and write a complete paper.

By providing basic guidelines for successfully using numbers in prose, The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers will help writers of all kinds clearly and effectively tell a story with numbers as evidence. Readers and writers everywhere will be grateful for this much-needed mentor.
Joel Best
"A most original work--a how-to guide for just about anyone trying to write (or talk) about numeric data. Miller's is a mentor's voice."
"Jane Miller, an academic at Rutgers University who trained as a demographer, warns against common charting errors. Hers, much more a textbook, is clearly written, with a checklist at the end of each chapter, invaluable for students. It should be required reading for journalists and politicians.
Data need a context: a figure or two tells you little. The fundamental questions of journalism—who, what, when, and where—have to be answered in charts too. Although Ms. Miller's book is chiefly concerned with writing about numbers, the last chapter gives advice about speaking with numbers. In presentations using visual aids, she says, use no more than one slide a minute."
“Miller presents a holistic and accessible approach to understanding the issues in communicating information by focusing on the entire writing process. Besides providing foundation principles for writing about numbers and exploring tools for displaying figures, the book combines statistical literacy with good writing. Key statistical concepts and practices are discussed in the context of ‘telling a story using numbers as evidence.’ Ideas are demonstrated using real-world examples. The book supplies guidelines for writing an introduction, data collection methodology, data analysis, results interpretation, conclusion, and preparing graphics. The language is unusually clear and precise, and the book's layout supports quick browsing. Highly recommended.”
List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Boxes
1. Why Write about Numbers?
Part I. Principles
2. Seven Basic Principles
3. Causality, Statistical Significance, and Substantive Significance
4. Technical but Important: Five More Basic Principles
Part II. Tools
5. Types of Quantitative Comparison
6. Creating Effective Tables
7. Creating Effective Charts
8. Choosing Effective Examples and Analogies
Part III. Pulling It All Together
9. Writing about Distributions and Associations
10. Writing about Data and Methods
11. Writing Introductions, Results, and Conclusions
12. Speaking about Numbers
Appendix A. Implementing "Generalization, Example, Exceptions" (GEE)
Reference List
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