4. “Statistics conceal as much as they reveal.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.
Statistics – There are a number of statistics used in different ways for different purposes. Some AOKs rely heavily on statistics while others use them relatively sparingly. However, it would be a mistake to assume that you could not find or use an RLE from the arts or ethics, for example, with this prescribed title.
Conceal / reveal – There are a number of ways that statistics can be employed in relatively neutral or biased ways to conceal or reveal. You need to clearly identify how statistics are being used to conceal or reveal in the RLEs in your essay.
“Conceal” has negative connotations while “reveal” has positive ones. This does mean though that “concealing” is always negative or “revealing” is always positive. One could easily find where, for example, Nazi Germany used statistics to “reveal” completely untrue facts about Jewish people. Others would definitely look at the same set of numbers and come to the conclusion that the Nazi regime was concealing, not revealing. Keep this in mind: one person’s “conceal” may be another person’s “reveal.”
Even modern and democratic governments and opposition parties use and misuse statistics to conceal and reveal important information. Unemployment rates, for example, can vary wildly depending on the definition of “unemployed.”