Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Statistic Brain web site now requires a ~$20 per month subscription. There are better ways to spend your time and money.

The last time I went to the Statistic Brain web site I was surprised to find that they have changed their business model and no longer allow public access. Instead they offer Student Access (for $9.99/month), Standard Access (for $19.99/month), and Business Access (for $99.99/month).

They have a web page on OUR METHODOLOGY (subtitled How Do We Ensure Accurate Data). Based on the oft-quoted example of their (top ten) Fear/Phobia Statistics page, it is NOT how they did their research. What they actually did was create a lie to match a Jerry Seinfeld joke. So, my mental image for them is that of a disreputable saloon, as shown above.   

An early version of that web page archived by the Wayback Machine is shown above. I blogged about it on December 7, 2014 in a post titled Statistic Brain is just a statistical medicine show. A more recent version with those baseless numbers showed up again on May 8, 2018 in a post by Jessica Teteak titled I’ll take death over public speaking at the Rule the Room Public Speaking blog.

What are some better ways to spend your time and money than a subscription to Statistic Brain? First, visit your friendly local public library and get a card. Ask the librarian about how to use their database collection. Second, visit your nearest state university library and see what options they have for visiting residents. You may be able to get an inexpensive card. I discussed using university libraries in a pair of blog posts. One from August 7, 2017 is titled Spotting fake news and finding reliable information for speeches. Another from February 24, 2015 is titled How to do a better job of speech research than the average Toastmaster (by using your friendly local public and state university libraries). Third, if you graduated from a university, look at the web site for their library. They may even have remote database access for alumni, like Brown University does.

The image of a saloon was modified from one at the Library of Congress.  

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