Monday, September 1, 2014's linear equation Flash applet

When I teach regression, I usually introduce the regression line by reminding my students of the long-ago days of algebra class and graph paper and rulers. has created an interactive applet that mimics the graph paper and allows users to adjust the y-intercept and the slope. This is a slightly fancier, more high-tech way to get your students thinking about the linear equation and then fitting that old knowledge into the new concept of regression.

Use the bars to adjust slope and y-intercept as a quick linear equation primer before teaching regression

Monday, August 25, 2014

Regina Nuzzo's "Scientific method: Statistical errors"

This article from Nature is an excellent primer on the concerns surrounding the use of p-values as the great gate keeper of statistical significance. The article includes historical perspective on how p-values came to be so widely used as well as some discussion on solutions and alternative measures of significance.

This article also provides good examples failed attempts at replication (good examples of Type I errors) and a shout out to Open Science Framework folks.

Personally, I have revised my class for the fall to include more discussion of and use of effect sizes. I think this article may be a bit above an undergraduate, introduction to statistics class but it could be useful for us as instructors as well as a good reading for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Patti Neighmond's "What is making us fat: Is it too much food or moving to little?"

This NPR story by Patti Neighmond is about determining the underlying cause of U.S. obesity epidemic. As the name of the segment states, it seems to come down to food consumption and exercise, but which is the culprit? This is a good example for research methods because it describes methodology for examining both sides of this question. The methodology used also provides good examples of archival data usage.