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Lecture1.chapt3andsec2.6 - Lecture 1 Chapter 3 Section 2.6...

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Lecture 1, Chapter 3 & Section 2.6 Course outline Statistics is the science of collecting, organizing, and interpreting information, which we call data, with the goal of gaining an understanding from that data. This is NOT a math class. This is a critical thinking class. My goal is to give you some statistics tools and principals that will help you make wise and educated decisions at work and in life. This course is divided into 2 parts: 1. Gathering and working with data (graphing, summarizing, designing studies to gather data). 2. Establishing relationships and drawing conclusions from the data (statistical inference). Statistics can be informative and can help us to make educated decisions. However, not every use of statistics in the media, politics, or our culture is legitimate. A Big Dose of Skepticism ” by Jerry Adler, Newsweek , 12/10/07 http://www.newsweek.com/id/73283 “I will not report any amazing new treatments for anything, unless they were tested in large, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials published in high-quality peer- reviewed medical journals.” “Just because someone with a Ph.D. or M.D. performs a clinical trial doesn t mean that [it] possesses any credibility whatsoever…The vast majority are worse than useless.” R. Barker Bausell, biostatistician at the University of Maryland and author of “ Snake Oil Science “Journalists needing to liven up those dull statistics are notorious suckers for anecdotes— even a respected New York Times writer Bausell mentions who, apropos of a large study that cast doubt on using glucosamine for arthritis, that she was sure it worked anyway, because it helped her dog.” New Year s resolution for Jerry Adler, health columnist for Newsweek , 12/10/07. Lecture 1, Chapter 3 & Section 2.6 Page 1
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Rural vs. urban roads example: “A country drive might be relaxing, but it can also be dangerous. Forty-two percent more fatal crashes occur in rural parts of the country than on busy stretches of highways through cities and suburbs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday. Focusing on fatal crashes from 1994 through 2003, the study found rural crashes are more likely to involve multiple fatalities, rollovers, and motorists being thrown from the vehicles. Making matters worse, it takes longer for emergency medical services to arrive at the scene…In 2003, Montana led the nation with 95.4% of its fatal crashes occurring along rural roads, followed by Maine, South Dakota, and South Carolina. Rhode Island had the lowest rate with 17.7% of traffic fatalities on rural roads, followed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey.” (J&C 12/9/05) Conclusion? What can go wrong? sampling (bias, nonresponse, undercoverage, variability) experiment (not using a control, not randomizing, not replicating, lurking variables) survey (unclear or biased wording, sampling design, date) Causation is not the same thing as association!
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