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Happiness Debate: the evidence

Posted by Richard D North in Interrogating the Media / Media / Money / Society on 11 August 2009

Why we posted this: David Aaronovitch has carried his crusade against bogus evidence even deeper into the Happiness Debate. 

The original story:
“Happiness Schmappiness”
David Aaronovitch
The Times
11 August 2009

Summary of the story:
David Aaronovitch has been an important contributor to the Happiness Debate. In this piece he attacks a much-cited piece of work which purported to show that British children were unhappy. He does so on his familiar territories. He says the “data” employed is deployed to produce the result the researchers demand. (The UK the “worst” in the league table of countries.) He implies that the researchers are dishonest in not challenging their own findings. (They happily cite the bits of data which go with their flow, but they don’t tell us where glaring gaps in their knowledge lie.) 

livingissues comment:
It is very useful to have Mr Aaronovitch’s detailed debunking of a piece of “happiness” research, not only because it’s an important debate about well-being but also because the reading public need to know how to interrogate this kind of material in whatever debate it’s employed.


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