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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Statistics category.

How do you interpret standard errors from a regression fit to the entire population?

James Keirstead writes: I’m working on some regressions for UK cities and have a question about how to interpret regression coefficients. . . . In a typical regression, one would be working with data from a sample and so the standard errors on the coefficients can be interpreted as reflecting the uncertainty in the choice […]

Discussion with Sander Greenland on posterior predictive checks

Sander Greenland is a leading epidemiologist and educator who’s strongly influenced my thinking on hierarchical models by pointing out that often the data do not supply much information for estimating the group-level variance, a problem that can be particularly severe when the number of groups is low. (And, in some sense, the number of groups […]

Correlation does not even imply correlation

The above title is my response to a discussion that began with this email sent to be by Steve Roth: Noah Smith had a great tweet recently, a real keeper for me [Roth]. Causation is correlated with correlation. I would reword it: Correlation correlates with causation. (Just not very much.) And I wonder if the […]

The “scientific surprise” two-step

During the past year or so, we’ve been discussing a bunch of “Psychological Science”-style papers in which dramatic claims are made based on somewhat open-ended analysis of small samples with noisy measurements. One thing that comes up in some of these discussions is that the people performing the studies say that they did not fish […]

Statistics and data science, again

Phillip Middleton writes in with two questions: (1) Is html markdown or some other formatting script usable in comments? If so, what are the tags I may use? (2) What are your views on the role of statistics in the evolution of the various folds of convergent science? For example, upon us there is this […]

The Ben Geen case: Did a naive interpretation of a cluster of cases send an innocent nurse to prison until 2035?

In a paper called “Rarity of Respiratory Arrest,” Richard Gill writes: Statistical analysis of monthly rates of events in around 20 hospitals and over a period of about 10 years shows that respiratory arrest, though about five times less frequent than cardio-respiratory arrest, is a common occurrence in the Emergency Department of a typical smaller […]

A world without statistics

A reporter asked me for a quote regarding the importance of statistics. But, after thinking about it for a moment, I decided that statistics isn’t so important at all. A world without statistics wouldn’t be much different from the world we have now. What would be missing, in a world without statistics? Science would be […]

Skepticism about a published claim regarding income inequality and happiness

Frank de Libero writes: I read your Chance article (disproving that no one reads Chance!) re communicating about flawed psychological research. And I know from your other writings of your continuing good fight against misleading quantitative work. I think you and your students might be interested on my recent critique of a 2011 paper published […]

Ethics and statistics

I spoke (remotely) recently at the University of Wisconsin, on the topic of ethics and statistics. Afterward, I received the following question from Fabrizzio Sanchez: As hard as it is to do, I thought it was good to try and define what exactly makes for an ethical violation. Your third point noted that it needed […]

Stan World Cup update

The other day I fit a simple model to estimate team abilities from World Cup outcomes. I fit the model to the signed square roots of the score differentials, using the square root on the theory that when the game is less close, it becomes more variable. 0. Background As you might recall, the estimated […]