Monday, February 27, 2017

rStats Institute's "Guinness, Gossett, Student, and t Tests"

This is a nice video for introducing t-tests AND finally getting the story straight regarding William Gossett, Guinness Brewery, and why Gossett published under the famous Student pseudonym. What did I learn? Apparently, Gossett DID have Guinness' blessings to publish. Also, this story demonstrates statisticians working in Quality Assurance as the original t-tests were designed to determine the consistency in the hops used in the brewing process. Those jobs are still available in industry today.

Credit goes to the RStats Institute at Missouri State University. This group has created a bunch of other tutorial videos for statistics as well.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Raff's "How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists"

Jennifer Raff is a geneticist, professor, and enthusiastic blogger. She created a useful guide for how non-scietists (like our students) can best approach and make sense of research articles.

The original aritcle is very detailed and explains how to go about making sense of experts. Personally, I appreciate that this guide is born out of trying to debate non-scientists about research. She wants everyone to benefit from science and be able to make informed decisions based upon research. I think that is great.

In the classroom, I think this would be a good way to introduce your undergraduates to research articles.

I especially appreciated this summary of her steps (see below). This could be turned into a worksheet with ease. Note: I still think your students should chew on the full article before they would be ready to answer these eleven questions.

If you are looking for a more psychology-specific guide for learning how to read research, I also love this perennially popular piece by Jordan and Zanna. It may be entitled "How to read an article in social psychology", but it is a good guide to reading research in any psychology discipline. I teach two research-reading heavy psychology electives (Positive and Motivation and Emotion) and I assign this article, and a quiz about this article, during the first week of both classes.

Anyone else have any other suggestions for guides to reading reserach? Lemme know and I'll add them to this post.

Monday, February 13, 2017

NY Magazine's "Finally, Here’s the Truth About Double Dipping"

Yes, it includes the Seinfeld clip about George double dipping.

The video provides a brief example of how to go about testing a research hypothesis by operationalizing a hypothesis, collecting, and analyzing data. Here, the abstract question is about how dirty it is to double dip. And they operationalized this question:

Research design: The researchers used a design that, conceptually, demonstrates ANOVA logic (the original article contains an ANOVA, the video itself makes no mention of ANOVA). The factor is "Dips" and there are three levels of the factor:

Before they double dipped, they took a base-line bacterial reading of each dip. Good science, that.
They display the findings in table form (again, no actual ANOVA). 

I am totally horrified by this salsa data.

However...the acidity of the salsa seems to help out in terms of killing bacteria after two hours. So, dig into that bowl of salsa two hours after your last guests go home? Still ew.

Because of the re-testing, using 1) baseline, 2) Time 1, and 3) Time 2, this now becomes a good example of a repeated measures ANOVA.

How to use in class:

1) How do we go from a research question to research?
3) Repeated measure design

Monday, February 6, 2017

Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes' Vaccination rates vs. infection rates

Refutation to Anti-vaccination Memes came up with this nice illustration to explain why anti-vaxxers shouldn't claim a "win" just because more vaccinated people than un-vaccinated people get sick during an outbreak.

I feel that this example has a bit more credence if paired with actual immunization rate/infection rate data. For instance, a case when an outbreak has occurred and the majority of infected are immunized, but there were still some un-immunized individuals.

To further this case, yes, most people in America are immunized. Here is an example of a an outbreak that has been linked to un-vaccinated folks.

How to use in class:
-Base rate fallacy (which DOES matter when making an argument with descriptive stats!)
-Relative v. absolute risk.
-Making sense of and contextualizing descriptive statistics.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map

The Southern Poverty Law Center has used mapping software in order to illustrate the location of different hate groups in the US.

How to use in class:

I think this demonstrates how good old descriptive data collection plays a valuable roll in law enforcement, social justice, etc.

I think this demonstrates why well-visualized data may be a more compelling way of sharing information than data in tables.

Another way to use this is for your students to create a methods section based upon the data collection information provided on the website:

You can make the data more personalized for your class by digging down to state-wide data.

In addition to the maps, the website includes various other descriptive data quantifying different hate groups in the US.

I used this in class along with  other examples of how data can be mixed with maps in order to provide information on regions/states.

This could also be used in a Social Psychology class in order to illustrate the presence of organized, deliberate prejudice in our society.