When and how should we communicate uncertainty? Should we use words rather than numbers? What sorts of graphics are helpful?
Dr Alexandra Freeman, from the Winton Centre for Risk & Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, talks about the problems and some of the solutions to conveying numbers to patients with varying levels of numeracy.
For example, when and how should we communicate uncertainty? Should we use words rather than numbers? What sorts of graphics are helpful? Not all of these have easy answers, but the Centre’s work, along with that of many others, does provide some helpful guidelines.
About Dr Alexandra Freeman
Before joining the Winton Centre in 2016, Alex Freeman had a 16 year career at the BBC, working on series such as Walking with Beasts, Life in the Undergrowth, Bang Goes the Theory, Climate Change by Numbers and as series producer of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. Her work won a number of awards, from a BAFTA to a AAAS Kavli gold award for science journalism. In addition to developing and making television series, Alex worked with associated content across a whole range of other media – designing websites, games, formal learning resources and social media content – to bring science to the widest possible audience. Now back at the Winton Centre she has a particular interest in helping professionals such as doctors, journalists or legal professionals communicate numbers and uncertainty better, and in whether narrative can be used as a tool to inform but not persuade. She is an advocate of Open Research practices and the reform of the science publishing system.