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MTH 241: Statistics I (WO): Topic

Select a Topic

Begin by selecting a topic.  Your initial topic can be broad (e.g., discrimination, employment, medicine).  We will narrow it soon.

Next, find an interesting statistic on your topic.  Try a Google search for:

YourTopic statistics site:.gov

For example:

cancer statistics site:.gov

This search will give you authoritative statistics from government sources.  The government keeps statistics on an incredible variety of topics - even some that you would never expect.

Refine

Find a statistic that interests you.

I have had two African American friends and colleagues who passed away from cancer, so I was interested to see this statistic from the National Cancer Institute:

"For all cancers combined, the death rate is 25 percent higher for African Americans/Blacks than for Whites."

 

 

 

Dig Deeper

Next, dig deeper and explore the raw data.

Table 1. Overall Cancer Incidence and Death Rates

Racial/Ethnic Group Incidence Death
All 470.1 192.7
African American/Black 504.1 238.8
Asian/Pacific Islander 314.9 115.5
Hispanic/Latino 356.0 129.1
American/Alaskan Native 297.6 160.4
White 477.5 190.7
 
http://www.cancer.gov/about-nci/organization/crchd/cancer-health-disparities-fact-sheet
Based on this data, we can see that African Americans have a higher rate of cancer than Whites, but all other minority groups have even lower rates.  What is the reason for this?  Is it diet, genetics, healthcare access, early detection...?  Why are there disparities among these groups? 
These are all fertile areas for further investigation.
Pick a focus, and you have your research question!