Why Study Statistics?
How Statistics Improves the World
Why study statistics?
Builds character? There is a better answer. On this page we have started a collection of papers that consider different ways in which statistical thinking can improve the world. From refuting an exaggerated claim to identifying biased rating scales to collaborating across disciplines to using statistical techniques to enhance critical thinking and / diversity in the workplace - it is worthwhile to examine the ways that we use statistics in our various fields of endeavor.
In this post-factual, post-truth age, it is important to have the skills to separate facts and truth from the distracting fictions that may surround it.
At the moment, the papers cited on this page are those written by your site authors, Profs L & H Friedman.
We will be happy to consider including other relevant research. Please email us with suggestions.
The knowledge economy and the digital age have changed the nature of work and management. More people than ever before need to master critical thinking skills to meet employers' demands. This paper proposes a set of 15 scenarios and where they may be used in the context of a one-semester course in statistics. Scenarios are chosen for their relevance, are from the fields of medicine, school admissions, institutional rankings, criminology, business, quality control and pharmaceutical research. Individuals who wish to sharpen their critical thinking skills may benefit from this paper.
What is Statistical Thinking Good For?
Or, in other words, why do I have to take this class?
You might be wondering, what is statistical thinking good for? Here are some attention-grabbing examples that demonstrate relevance of statistical thinking to all areas of the world we live in. Real-world examples in teaching, evidence-based research, health research, NNT (number needed to treat), happiness research, teacher cheating, attractiveness research, college rankings. The correlation coefficient helps us to evaluate research, i.e., the strength of the relationship reported.
Friedman, Hershey H. and Amoo, Taiwo (2019).The importance of using real-world examples and data to teach correlation. Annual Northeast Decision Sciences Institute (NEDSI) Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 4-6., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3441972
Friedman, Hershey H. and Friedman, Linda Weiser, Reducing the Wait in Waiting-Line Systems: Waiting Line Segmentation (July 1, 1997). Business Horizons, Vol. 40, pp. 54-58, July 1997, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=909000
Helping people collaborate across disciplines
The most exciting and valuable research is often done at the intersection of two or more disciplines. How can scholars in diverse disciplines using different scientific models, communicate for collaboration? Just think of the Manhattan Project which had experts for a variety of different countries, speaking different languages, and from such areas as math, physics, cryptography, game theory, and management.
Friedman, Linda Weiser, Friedman, Hershey H. and Pollack, Simcha, The Role of Modeling in Scientific Disciplines: A Taxonomy (January 15, 2008). Review of Business, 29(1), pp. 61-67, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2322506