A well-placed stat will add weight to your writing—particularly when it’s referenced with a credible source. When working with numbers, all care must be taken to not misinterpret or over-simplify the data. There are therefore good reasons to reproduce stats from academic sources with minimal paraphrasing. However, you’re not writing an academic paper—and not everyone was born with a mind for numbers. For some readers, even simple percentages can lack meaning.
If you’re using a statistic for emphasis rather than precision, consider dropping the % sign entirely and reducing your stat to its lowest denominator. This simple technique makes percentages more accessible to more readers.
You don’t have to be a statistician to use stats effectively. However, if you know you’re not a ‘numbers person’, run your stats by someone who is. This little fail-safe will help protect your organization’s credibility against any embarrassing accidental misrepresentations.
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