Sections of this “ABOUT” page:
- Target Audience
- Rationale for the Large & Diverse Target Audience
- The Posts’ Level of Statistical Sophistication
- Categories of Posts
- Relationship to Facebook
- Site Creator and Author of Posts
The posts that appear on this site are intended to show that statistics is useful, interesting, and fun…but also dangerous if misunderstood and misused.
2. TARGET AUDIENCE:
This site is aimed at high school and college students enrolled in statistics courses, the individuals who teach such courses, students and teachers in other disciplines, researchers who collect/analyze numerical data, and the administrative personnel in high schools, colleges, and universities. In addition, this site’s target audience includes everyone else aged 14 or older in the general population!
3. RATIONALE FOR THE LARGE & DIVERSE TARGET AUDIENCE:
Sadly, most people fear statistics and think they have no reason to learn about it. They make jokes about “stats,” often citing the phrase, “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.” However, these same individuals are bombarded daily with statistical information from politicians, advertisers, and those who summarize the results of research investigations for dissemination through television, newspaper columns, magazines, and a growing number of Internet sites.
To understand data-based research summaries, and to be in a position to differentiate “sound” statistically-based information from a biased and/or deceitful use of statistics, people must possess “statistical literacy.” In fact, H. G. Wells is alleged to have said that “statistical understanding will one day be as important as being able to read or write.”
Consider the following statistical terms and ponder the question, “Where did these terms come from?” Were they taken from a statistics textbook? No. Were they pulled from written correspondence among statisticians? No. Were they found on a statistically-oriented website? No. Surprisingly, each of these terms appeared in newspaper articles aimed at the general public!
Average ….. Bell curve ….. Beta (volatility) ….. Causality between variables ….. Chance ….. Combination ….. Correlation ….. Data mining ….. Decile ….. Direct correlation ….. Frequency distribution ….. Frequency polygon* ….. Histogram ….. Improved significantly ….. Interaction ….. Inversely related ….. Level of confidence ….. Linear relationship ….. Margin of error ….. Margin of sampling error ….. Mean ….. Median ….. Monte Carlo simulation ….. Normal distribution ….. Not significant ….. Odds ….. Odds ratio ….. Outlier ….. Percentile ….. Perfect correlation ….. Pie chart* ….. Population ….. Positive association ….. Probability ….. Quartile ….. Random sample ….. Randomly assigned ….. Rate of return ….. Reliability ….. Risk was 63% higher ….. Sampling error factor ….. Sampling frame ….. Scatter plot* ….. Significantly lower ….. Skewed ….. Standard deviation ….. Standard error ….. Statistically meaningful sample ….. Statistical dead heat ….. Statistical evidence ….. Statistical tie ….. Statistically adjusted score ….. Statistically significant ….. Statistically weighted ….. Stem-and-leaf plot ….. Uncorrelated ….. Variance ….. Weighted average ….. Y-intercept ….. is linked t0 ….. 30-day moving average ….. 83% increased risk of ….. 95% confidence interval ….. 99% confidence interval [*shown as a picture]
This site’s target audience is large and diverse because almost all individuals have room for improvement in their ability to decipher and critique statistical information. This holds true for just about everyone, whether student or teacher, young or old, male or female, scientist or artist, physician or plumber, urban resident or cattle rancher.
4. THE POSTS’ LEVEL OF STATISTICAL SOPHISTICATION:
This site’s posts deal with statistical concepts/issues that are elementary or intermediate in nature, with no posts concerned with advanced statistical theory. Just as a coach must teach his or her young athletes important “fundamentals” before showing them advanced maneuvers, this site focuses on the more basic elements of statistics. This focus is appropriate because so many people in the site’s target audience have low levels of statistical literacy and lack an understanding of what might be called “the basics.”
5. CATEGORIES OF POSTS:
The posts that appear on this site fall into 10 different categories: (1) Statistical Misconceptions, (2) Food-for-Thought Quotations about Statistics, (3) Mini-Lessons about Statistics , (4) Origin of Statistical Terms/Concepts, (5) Famous Statisticians, (6) Useful Applications of Statistics, (7) Statistics Games/Puzzles, (8) Important Numbers Worth Remembering, (9) Stats Appearing in Newspapers/Magazines, and (10) Statistical Humor. The posts uploaded to the site purposefully represent these varied categories in order to avoid monotony and to provide a comprehensive effort at upgrading people’s statistical literacy.
6. RELATIONSHIP TO FACEBOOK:
Most of the posts that appear on this site initially appeared, in a more condensed form, on a Facebook page. (That FB page can be accessed by going to http://ww.facebook.com/readingstatistics) As of July 4, 2014, this FB page had 1,642 fans located in 89 countries on 5 different continents.
7. SITE CREATOR & AUTHOR OF POSTS:
The person responsible for developing this site and writing its posts is Dr. Schuyler (Sky) Huck, a Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Teaching Scholar at the University of Tennessee. After receiving his PhD from Northwestern University located outside Chicago, Sky has spent 44 years trying to help people understand the utility, beauty, and humor of statistics. And also its limitations! Sky’s biographical sketch and abbreviated vita are located on this site’s Home page under a tab entitled: BIO.
Jian Su has provided extensive technical, artistic, and substantive help in creating this blog site. Su earned a Master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and she currently is working on a PhD degree in Instructional Technology at the University of Tennessee. Since 2002, Su has held a faculty position at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law located in Wuhan, China.
Additional help in creating/managing this blog site has come from Mijoo Lee, Michelle Garland, and Stephanie Kelly.