Heartless side to television heroics


This article might be used for a lesson on the media in an English class. Not only is it in the media, but also it is about the media. The percentages quoted in the article show the need for a degree of statistical literacy to interpret such a report.

In a mathematics class the question is whether there is a significant difference between the value for the TV episodes and that for actual situations. One could ask whether the "sample" of 97 episodes is representative of a population whose resuscitation rate is at most 30%. For students in the senior secondary years this question could be answered by finding a 95% - confidence interval around the "sample" value of 77% and seeing if this includes 30%. With the relatively large sample size of 97 this is unlikely but it is a nice exercise. [ Estimate the standard deviation as the square root of [p(1-p)/n] = 0.0427 and the 95% confidence interval is

(0.77 - 1.96 x 0.0427, 0.77 + 1.96 x 0.0427) =(0.686, 0.854)

which certainly does not contain the claimed population value.]


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