3. We discussed in class the best currently available method for estimating the proportion of military servicemembers who are gay. What is that method? (Recall the problems with the direct approach: there is no simple way to survey servicemembers at random, nor is it likely that they would answer such a question honestly.) Solution to [...]
2. Which of the following are useful goals in a pilot study? (Indicate all that apply.) (a) You can search for statistical significance, then from that decide what to look for in a confirmatory analysis of your full dataset. (b) You can see if you find statistical significance in a pre-chosen comparison of interest. (c) [...]
1. Suppose that, in a survey of 1000 people in a state, 400 say they voted in a recent primary election. Actually, though, the voter turnout was only 30%. Give an estimate of the probability that a nonvoter will falsely state that he or she voted. (Assume that all voters honestly report that they voted.) [...]
We had 28 class periods, so I wrote an exam with an approximate correspondence of one question per class. Rather than dumping the exam in your lap all at once, I’ll post the questions once per day. Then each day I’ll post the answer to yesterday’s questions. So it will be 29 days in all. [...]
Thomas Basbøll [yes, I've learned how to smoothly do this using alt-o] gives some writing advice: What gives a text presence is our commitment to asserting facts. We have to face the possibility that we may be wrong about them resolutely, and we do this by writing about them as though we are right. This [...]
Sociologist Fabio Rojas reports on “a conversation I [Rojas] have had a few times with statisticians”: Rojas: “What does your research tell us about a sample of, say, a few hundred cases?” Statistician: “That’s not important. My result works as n–> 00.” Rojas: “Sure, that’s a fine mathematical result, but I have to estimate the [...]
David Brooks writes:
Experimenting on your intro stat course, as a way of teaching experimentation in your intro stat course (and also to improve the course itself)
While visiting the education school at the University of Pennsylvania a couple months ago, I had a long conversation with Bob Boruch, a prominent researcher in the field of evidence-based education. We shared Fred Mosteller stories and talked about a lot of other things too. Boruch sent me an article about teaching randomized controlled trials [...]
Howard Wainer writes: When we focus only on the differences between groups, we too easily lose track of the big picture. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the current public discussions of the size of the gap in test scores that is observed between racial groups. It has been noted that in New Jersey [...]
I was talking with education researcher Bob Boruch about my frustrations in teaching, the idea that as statisticians we tell people to do formal experimentation but in our own teaching practice we typically just try different things without even measuring outcomes, let alone performing any formal evaluation. Boruch showed me this article with Alan Ruby [...]
My new Chance ethics column (cowritten with Eric Loken). Click through and take a look. It’s a short article and I really like it. And here’s more Chance.
The list includes “hunting” but not “fishing,” so that’s cool. I wonder how they’d feel about a question involving different cuts of meat. In any case, I’m happy to see that “Bayes” is not on the banned list. P.S. Russell explains.
David Hogg writes of teaching intro physics: The time derivative of velocity is acceleration, both vectors of course. But I [Hogg] was reminded in office hours today of just how hard it is to get across the idea that the velocity vector and the acceleration vector can point in totally different directions. And some students [...]
Daniel Gerlanc asks: I’ve been reading your Regression and Multilevel Modeling book. Do you have a set of example solutions for the problems in the book? Henning Piezunka, Adam Lynton, and others have asked the same question. My universal response: I’m glad you like our book. Unfortunately, we have no solution sets. I made a [...]
Karl Broman writes: I [Karl] personally would avoid sports entirely, as I view the subject to be insufficiently serious. . . . Certainly lots of statisticians are interested in sports. . . . And I’m not completely uninterested in sports: I like to watch football, particularly Nebraska, Green Bay, and Baltimore, and to see Notre [...]
I spoke at the University of Kansas the other day. Kansas is far away so I gave the talk by video. We did it using a G+ hangout, and it worked really well, much much better than when I gave a talk via Skype. With G+, I could see and hear the audience clearly, and [...]
John Cook writes that he’d like to hear more people talk about “educational monoculture.” I don’t actually know John Cook but I enjoy reading his blog, so I feel like the least I can do is to honor his request. I have to admit that I have a bit of a monocultural temperament myself. I [...]
Dustin Palmer writes: I am a recent graduate looking for a bit of advice. While I took intro classes on math and statistics in my undergraduate degree as a political science major, I find myself university-less and seeking to develop my statistics toolkit. I work for an NGO in the international development field. I think [...]
The American Statistical Association is seeking nominations for its annual Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award. The award was created in 2004 to encourage and recognize members of the communications media who have best displayed an informed interest in the science of statistics and its role in public life. The award can be given for a [...]
From Allen Downey.
Someone sent me an email saying that he liked my little essay, “Descriptive statistics aren’t just for losers.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded like the kind of thing I’d say, so I searched the blog and found this post, which indeed I really like! I thanked my correspondent [...]
Gregg Easterbrook: Gingrich is a wild card. He probably would end up a flaming wreckage in electoral terms, but there’s a chance he could become seen as the man unafraid to bring sweeping change to an ossified Washington, D.C. There’s perhaps a 90 percent likelihood Obama would wipe the floor with Gingrich, versus a 10 [...]
One advantage of teaching statistics is that you don’t have to worry about any celebrities taking your class.
Peter Woit links to Steve Hsu linking to a 1977 interview by Katherine Sopka of physics professor Sidney Coleman. I don’t know anything about Coleman’s research but the interview caught my eye because one of my roommates in grad school was one of Coleman’s advisees. Anyway, here’s the key bit from the interview: Sopka: But [...]
Seth Rogers writes: I [Rogers] am a member of an online community of statisticians where I burn a great deal of time (and a recovering cog sci researcher). Our community website is a peer-reviewed Q and A spanning stats topics ranging from applications to mathematical theory. Our online community consists of mostly university faculty, grad [...]