Verbalising statistics

SOME people think that statistics are misleading, but the winners of this year's Statistical Project Competition have proved them wrong.

Cheng Swen-lok, Cheng Ming-fai, Kok Wai-ming and Cheng Kee-chik of King's College won the championship in the senior section with a detailed report of the fishing industry in Hongkong.

Swen-lok said it was hard to collect data and information, but the toughest job was handling the data objectively to get an interpretation without any bias.

The sixth-formers spent three weeks collecting and analysing the data to produce a statistical report.

''I think we won because our data was presented logically and our report was comprehensive,'' Swen-lok said.

Their report looked at various aspects of the fishing industry, including the contribution of the fishing industry to Hongkong's economy, comparisons between capture and culture fisheries and per capita consumption of fish.

The data was presented concisely with colourful computer graphics.

Ming-fai said the group encountered some difficulties as they were not very good in computer and had not learned much about statistical analysis at school.

''I think co-operation, hard work and patience were our keys to success,'' he told Young Post .

Ka Chi Secondary School grabbed the championship in the junior section.

The two winning teams each received a cash prize of $5,000 and an Epson microcomputer.

The Statistical Project Competition, in its seventh year, attracted 92 entries from 47 schools this year. Organised by Hongkong Statistical Society, the competition is aimed at arousing social awareness among students and promoting the use of statistics as a scientific method of social enquiry.

A panel of 21 adjudicators, comprising teaching staff from tertiary institutes and senior staff from the Census and Statistics Department, was set up to access the entries.

The students were required to attend an interview to ensure that they thoroughly understood their projects.

Chief adjudicator Dr Shen Shir-ming, lecturer at the University of Hongkong, said the overall standard of the projects was higher than that of previous years.