# Questions tagged [inference]

Drawing conclusions about population parameters from sample data. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inference and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_inference

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### How to interpret a QQ plot

I am working with a small dataset (21 observations) and have the following normal QQ plot in R: Seeing that the plot does not support normality, what could I infer about the underlying distribution? ...
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### T-test for non normal when N>50?

Long ago I learnt that normal distribution was necessary to use a two sample T-test. Today a colleague told me that she learnt that for N>50 normal distribution was not necessary. Is that true? If ...
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### Understanding "variance" intuitively

What is the cleanest, easiest way to explain someone the concept of variance? What does it intuitively mean? If one is to explain this to their child how would one go about it? It's a concept that I ...
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### Who Are The Bayesians?

As one becomes interested in statistics, the dichotomy "Frequentist" vs. "Bayesian" soon becomes commonplace (and who hasn't read Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise, anyway?). In talks and ...
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### What is a good, convincing example in which p-values are useful?

My question in the title is self explanatory, but I would like to give it some context. The ASA released a statement earlier this week “on p-values: context, process, and purpose”, outlining various ...
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### What are the worst (commonly adopted) ideas/principles in statistics?

In my statistical teaching, I encounter some stubborn ideas/principles relating to statistics that have become popularised, yet seem to me to be misleading, or in some cases utterly without merit. I ...
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### Testing equality of coefficients from two different regressions

This seems to be a basic issue, but I just realized that I actually don't know how to test equality of coefficients from two different regressions. Can anyone shed some light on this? More formally, ...
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### Two-tailed tests... I'm just not convinced. What's the point?

The following excerpt is from the entry, What are the differences between one-tailed and two-tailed tests?, on UCLA's statistics help site. ... consider the consequences of missing an effect in the ...
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### Rule of thumb for number of bootstrap samples

I wonder if someone knows any general rules of thumb regarding the number of bootstrap samples one should use, based on characteristics of the data (number of observations, etc.) and/or the variables ...
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### Why would someone use a Bayesian approach with a 'noninformative' improper prior instead of the classical approach?

If the interest is merely estimating the parameters of a model (pointwise and/or interval estimation) and the prior information is not reliable, weak, (I know this is a bit vague but I am trying to ...
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### What are the factors that cause the posterior distributions to be intractable?

In Bayesian statistics, it is often mentioned that the posterior distribution is intractable and thus approximate inference must be applied. What are the factors that cause this intractability?
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### Why do we need multivariate regression (as opposed to a bunch of univariate regressions)?

I just browsed through this wonderful book: Applied multivariate statistical analysis by Johnson and Wichern. The irony is, I am still not able to understand the motivation for using multivariate (...
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### How do DAGs help to reduce bias in causal inference?

I have read in several places that the use of DAGs can help to reduce bias due to Confounding Differential Selection Mediation Conditioning on a collider I also see the term “backdoor path” a lot. ...
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Suppose we have a multiple comparisons scenario such as post hoc inference on pairwise statistics, or like a multiple regression, where we are making a total of $m$ comparisons. Suppose also, that we ...
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### Intuitive explanation of "Statistical Inference"

What is the cleanest, easiest way to explain someone the concept of Inference? What does it intuitively mean? How would you go to explain it to the layperson, or to a person who has studied a very ...
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### Inference vs. estimation?

What are the differences between "inference" and "estimation" under the context of machine learning? As a newbie, I feel that we infer random variables and estimate the model parameters. Is my this ...
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### Performing a statistical test after visualizing data - data dredging?

I'll propose this question by means of an example. Suppose I have a data set, such as the boston housing price data set, in which I have continuous and categorical variables. Here, we have a "quality"...
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### Kullback-Leibler divergence WITHOUT information theory

After much trawling of Cross Validated, I still don't feel like I'm any closer to understanding KL divergence outside of the realm of information theory. It's rather odd as somebody with a Math ...
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### Inference after using Lasso for variable selection

I'm using Lasso for feature selection in a relatively low dimensional setting (n >> p). After fitting a Lasso model, I want to use the covariates with nonzero coefficients to fit a model with no ...
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### MLE vs MAP estimation, when to use which?

MLE = Maximum Likelihood Estimation MAP = Maximum a posteriori MLE is intuitive/naive in that it starts only with the probability of observation given the parameter (i.e. the likelihood function) and ...
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### War stories where wrong decisions were made based on statistical information?

I think it is fair to say statistics is an applied science so when averages and standard deviations are calculated it is because someone is looking to make some decisions based on those numbers. ...
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### Bayesian network inference using pymc (Beginner's confusion)

I am currently taking the PGM course by Daphne Koller on Coursera. In that, we generally model a Bayesian Network as a cause and effect directed graph of the variables which are part of the observed ...
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### What is the difference between a "statistical experiment" and a "statistical model"?

I am following A.W. van der Vaart, asymptotic statistics (1998). He talks of statistical experiments, claiming that they are different from a statistical model, but he defines neither. My question: ...
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### Should "City" be a fixed or a random effect variable?

I am analyzing data on "BloodSugar" level (dependent variable) and trying to find its relation with "age", "gender" and "weight" (independent variables) of ...
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### Do descriptive statistics have p-values?

I'm being asked to find the p-values for descriptive statistics. However, it's my understanding that p-values are for test statistics. If I'm not mistaken, a p-value is the probability of observing a ...
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### Good summaries (reviews, books) on various applications of Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)?

Are there any good summaries (reviews, books) on various applications of Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)? I've seen Markov Chain Monte Carlo in Practice, but this books seems a bit old. Are there ...
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