Monday, July 29, 2013

Gerd Gigerenzer on how the media interprets data/science

Gerd "I love heuristics" Gigernezer talking about the misinterpretation of research by the media (in particular, misinterpretation of data about oral contraceptives leads to increases in abortions). He argues that such misinterpretation isn't just bad reporting, but unethical.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lesson plan: Posit Science and Hypothesis Testing

Here is a basic lesson plan that one could use to teach the hypothesis testing method in a statistics course. I teach in a computer lab but I think it could be modified for a non-lab setting, especially if you use a smart classroom. The lesson involves learning about a company that makes web-based games that improve memory (specifically, I use the efficacy testing the company did to provide evidence that their games do improve memory).

Posit Science is a company that makes computer based games that are intended to improve memory. I use material from the company's website when teaching my students about the scientific method. Here is what I do...

Property of

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Khan Academy's Central Limit Theorem

Khan Academy has plenty of fair use videos for "learning anything". They have a number of statistics/probability examples in their library. Including the Central Limit Theorem video below (I highlight this one as CLT usually leads to a lot of head scratching in my class).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Andy Field's Statistics Hell

Andy Field is a psychologist, statistician, and author. He created a funny, Dante's Inferno-themed web site that contains everything you ever wanted to know about statistics. I know, I know, you're thinking, "Not another Dante's Inferno themed statistics web site!". But give this one a try.

Property of Andy Field. I certainly can't take credit for this.

Some highlights:

1) The aesthetic is priceless. For example, his intermediate statistics page begins with the introduction, "You will experience the bowel-evacuating effect of multiple regression, the bone-splintering power of ANOVA and the nose-hair pulling torment of factor analysis. Can you cope: I think not, mortal filth. Be warned, your brain will be placed in a jar of cerebral fluid and I will toy with it at my leisure."

2) It is all free. Including worksheets, data, etc. How amazing and generous. And, if you are feeling generous and feel the need to compensate him for the website, he asks that you make a donation to child-welfare organization. Or you could buy his text book.

3) He is a psychologist that teaches statistics, which is different than being a statistician teaching statistics. Many of his examples are psychological.

4) Another thing I like about this site is that he has plenty of SPSS examples. Most of the texts I've reviewed have Excel, Minitab, various TI calculator instructions, but not many integrated SPSS examples. Not only does he provide data, he also provides some jing/video tutorials.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cracked's "The five most popular ways statistics are used to lie to you"

If you aren't familiar with, it is a website that composes lists. Some are pretty amusing (6 Myths About Psychology That Everyone (Wrongly) Believes6 Things Your Body Does Every Day That Science Can't Explain). And some are even educational, like "The five most popular ways statistics are used to lie to you".

The list contains good points to encourage critical thinking in your students. Some of the specific points it touches upon:
1) When it is more appropriate to use median than mean.
2) False positives
3) Absolute versus relative changes in amount
4) Probability
5) Correlation does not equal causation

And you'll get mad street cred points from undergraduates for using a Cracked list. Trust me.