Communicating with numbers

Overall this course is fun. The materials that I was introduced are somewhat familiar, but something I never look close enough to rise a question. Getting to know real world examples is one of my favorite things about this class. I am used to topics in health, science, and environmental issues, but I was never introduced related problems in a way that this course has informed me. I would challenge myself to ask these three questions in different real experience: Why this happens? What is the consequence? What is the motivation? I was shocked that communicating in those kind of issues are also based on money motivation.

An interesting thing what I have learned in this course, which has a significant impact on is that understanding quantitative data is very critical to understand real world phenomena. It is interesting to see numbers in three different aspects of communication- health communication, science communication, and environmental communication. In health science, topics may be personal and sensitive to individuals, so numbers are often used for its neutral means of communication. Numbers are easy to make comparison with others, so it helps to reveal a problem by comparing others and sets up a new goal that we all can trace ourselves on track. This is something I kind of know before taking this course, but understanding numbers in health, science, environmental communication is something I rarely pay attention to.

However, it is often what people misunderstand the meaning of them. For instance, I have a twisted feeling to understand risk of developing cancer from eating red meat, because I was not sure how the percentage is determined. However, comparing different ratios help me realize how much more risky it is to do something.

Generally speaking, we live in number-friendly society. They are widely used in education and business on daily basis. Our value is reflected in numbers of price. And there is a survey which is commonly used to reveal ourselves. In environmental science, it was shocking to me that there are quite high percentage of people not accepting climate change as a real world phenomenon. In social science, I was told to notice importance of middle class. It shows the gap and majority of people’s belief which can impact on democratic society. For instance, these are questions I have recently thought about environmental science. Which group does the social middle class people fall into the survey of climate change? Which opinion does the majority of people think about climate change? This is my final post for this course, but I would like to learn and communicate these kind of issues.

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