Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Statistics Done Wrong...

Statistics Done Wrong – the woefully complete guide.  With a title and subhead like that, how could I not like this web site?  I'm no statistics expert, not by a long shot – but I need to understand some statistics when I'm evaluating articles or papers on things like climate science, evolution, or medicine.  So my review is from the perspective of a consumer, not a practitioner.  I dove into four topics; I haven't yet read the whole thing.  Two of those topics were on facets I understand reasonably well, and I thought they were covered very well (and with light humor, too).  The other two of them were on facets new to me, and I learned some valuable things.  So I've bookmarked this as a resource...

The site is written by Alex Rienhart, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon in statistics.  From his web site:
If you’re a practicing scientist, you probably use statistics to analyze your data. From basic t tests and standard error calculations to Cox proportional hazards models and geospatial kriging systems, we rely on statistics to give answers to scientific problems.

This is unfortunate, because most of us don’t know how to do statistics.

Statistics Done Wrong is a guide to the most popular statistical errors and slip-ups committed by scientists every day, in the lab and in peer-reviewed journals. Many of the errors are prevalent in vast swathes of the published literature, casting doubt on the findings of thousands of papers. Statistics Done Wrong assumes no prior knowledge of statistics, so you can read it before your first statistics course or after thirty years of scientific practice.

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