Monthly Archives: Mar 2017

a drop in the ocean

I am a member of an NGO called Projekt Seehilfe e.V. We support refugees in Sicily with materialistic and idealistic help. Last year, I was one of three people that went to Sicily, together with another NGO from Germany: Hanseatic Help e.V.

I wrote two texts that summarized what I experienced there and what I thought when I was confronted with a type of problem that plays an important role in contemporary Europe. Because these texts are in German, I will publish an English version here. You can find the original article here.

A drop in the ocean

Mustafa* stands in front of the table, and he is looking at me. I just gave him the card of the NGO called Projekt Seehilfe e.V. with which I am in Catania, Sicily. Initially, I just gave it to his friend, who was much more talkative and who appeared to be interested. However, because he was standing right next to him, it felt wrong not to give him one as well. Holding the card, he looks like he does not know what to do with it. Timidly, he laughs. It seems that my assessment was correct. He stands in front of me, says thank you and looks me in the eyes. We didn’t even talk during the whole dinner, and I had the impression that he was just about to leave. We start talking. I cannot remember why and how we start the conversation – probably with one of these generic questions, like: “Where are you from?” Then, he starts talking. Continue reading a drop in the ocean

mean differences or mean changes?

While analyzing data from an experiment, I found myself writing things like “The treatment changes the outcome variably by…” or “the treatment leads to changes in the outcome variable”. However, I often thought that talking about changes sounded too ‘dynamic’. After all, I was referring to two different groups of subjects (between-subjects design). What I was doing was to statistically compare means of the outcome variable of different groups. I was ok to talk about changes when referring to within-subject differences, i.e. changes in outcomes for the same subject due to an intervention, but for the between-subjects case, shouldn’t I rather talk about differences instead of changes? Continue reading mean differences or mean changes?