Monday, April 28, 2014

io9's "The Controversial Doctor Who Pioneered the Idea Of "Informed Consent""

This story describes a 1966 journal article that argues that signing an informed consent isn't the same as truly giving informed consent.

I think this is a good example for the ethics section of a research methods class as it demonstrates some deeply unethical situations in which participants weren't able to give informed consent (prisoners, non-English speakers, etc.). Indeed, the context within which the informed consent is provided is very important. It also provides a historical context regarding the creation of Institutional Review Boards.

The original 1966 article is here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

SPSS Teaching Memes

When I look at the analytic data for my blog, I notice a lot of people come here after Googling "stats memes" or "math memes" or "statistics humor". Being a data-driven sort of human, I have posted my collection of memes inspired by teaching Introduction to Statistics using SPSS. They do reflect common mistakes/stumbling blocks that I see semester after semester. I think they draw student attention towards commonly-made mistakes in a way that is not threatening. And it puts me one step closer to my ultimate goal of teaching statistics using nothing but memes and animated .GIFS 

Make your own via If they are hilarious and statsy, please consider sharing them with me.

UPDATE: 11/25/16

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jon Mueller's Correlation or Causation website

If you teach social psychology, you are probably familiar with Dr. Jon Mueller's Resources for the Teaching of Social Psychology website. You may not be as familiar with Mueller's Correlation or Causation website, which keeps a running list of news stories that summarize research findings and either treat correlation appropriately or suggest/imply/state a causal relationship between correlational variables.

The news stories run the gamut from research about human development to political psychology to research on cognitive ability. When I've used this website in the past, I have allowed my students to pick a story of interest and discuss whether or not the journalist in question implied correlation or causation. Mueller also provides several ideas (both from him and from other professors) on how to use his list of news stories in the classroom.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kevin Wu's Graph TV

Kevin Wu's Graph TV  uses individual episode ratings (archival data via IMDB) of TV shows, graphs each episode over the course of a series via scatter plot, and generates a regression line.

This demonstrates fun with archival data as well as regression lines and scatter plots. You could also discuss sampling, in that these ratings were provided by IMDB users and, presumably, big fans of the shows (and whether or not this constitutes representative sampling).

The saddest little purple dot is the episode Black Market. Truth!