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Taxonomy of confusion

Rachel writes that she gave our students (it’s a grad class in applied statistics, based on the Gelman and Hill book) what she thought of as a “Taxonomy of Confusion”… types of things they might be confused about and what they should do before asking the T.A.:

1. statistics-related questions that are prerequisite to the course—get an Intro to Stats book, don’t ask the T.A. unless you really must.

2. statistics-related questions that are part of the course—read the book, ask a friend, then ask the T.A.

3. you know what you want statistically but you don’t know the name of the function—google “R standard deviation” or write the function yourself… if you can’t find it, ask a friend then ask the T.A.

4. you know the function’s name but you can’t figure out how it works: type help(sd), then ask a friend then ask the T.A.

5. you wrote code but you get error messages: DEBUG using tips like, print things out, break into smaller steps (we should do more on this later).

6.you wrote code and it doesn’t do what you think it should do but there are no errors: DEBUG (more on this later).

This just seemed hilarious to me. Maybe it was the deadpan tone.

One Comment

  1. Piero Stanig says:

    Nice deal. In my TA experience, I had to deal with 1-6 almost every day. An additional type of question was

    7-statistics-related questions that are not part of the course but you need to know to do the analysis for another course term paper.